Objectives for Swedish total defence 2021–2025 - Government bill ‘Totalförsvaret 2021–2025’


The Government bill contains proposals on an overall objective for total defence, new objectives for military and civil defence, the direction of the force structure of the Swedish Armed Forces, changes to the Swedish Armed Forces peacetime organisation, as well as legislative amendments as a result of the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency’s name change.

Furthermore, the Government bill contains the Government’s assessment of both security policy developments and the long-term direction of defence and security policy, including Sweden’s international defence cooperation.

  • Photo: Jimmy Croona/Swedish Armed Forces

  • Illustration: Government Offices

Points of departure for total defence

If Sweden is attacked, the Swedish Armed Forces, with the support of the rest of the total defence, will defend Sweden in order to buy time, create room for manoeuvre and ultimately safeguard the country’s independence. The resistance will be resolute and sustained.

Sweden’s total defence must be designed and dimensioned to be able to respond to an armed attack against Sweden, including acts of war on Swedish territory. Sweden’s total defence is a war-deterrent by virtue of its strength, composition, command, preparedness and resilience. It deters attempts to attack, control or otherwise exploit Swedish territory.

A transition has been under way for a few years directing defence towards national tasks. The initiated transition therefore needs to continue and total defence capability to respond to an armed attack be strengthened.

An enhanced force structure

Sweden’s military defence is being designed and dimensioned to be able to respond to an armed attack against Sweden. The resilience of the force structure needs to be enhanced and better balance achieved between support and combat units. A basic defence capability needs to be ensured over time. Annual spending on military defence will increase with approximately EUR 2.7 billion totalling EUR 8.9 billion by 2025. This is an increase of around 45 percent compared with 2020 and 95 percent compared with 2015.

More brigades

The Government considers it essential, during the period 2021–2025, to retain the two existing brigades and begin organising a third mechanised brigade and a reduced motorised brigade in the Stockholm area (Life Guards Brigade).

Enhanced military presence on Gotland

Also important is enhancing the units on Gotland, where the core comprises a mechanised battalion with reinforcement resources.

Division level command

Work on organising a divisional level, including staff, headquarters and artillery units will also begin. Creating functioning combat units on a broad front that have taken part in combined exercises is a priority.

New submarines and surface combat vessels

During the period 2021–2025, it is proposed that the submarine division be retained and developed through an increase in the number of submarines from the four at present to five. Two new Blekinge-class submarines will be commissioned. Preparations for the procurement of new surface combat vessels will begin with the aim of two new vessels being delivered during the period 2026–2030.

New amphibious battalion

An additional amphibious battalion will be organised and based in Gothenburg.

JAS 39 E Gripen

The new combat aircraft system JAS 39 E will be commissioned during the period 2021–2025 and will along with the existing JAS 39 C/D be organised in six fighter squadrons. Additional missiles and electronic warfare capabilities will be procured.

New equipment for the Home Guard

The Government considers that, in order to carry out their tasks, the Home Guard units should receive additional equipment. Thus, during the period 2021–2025, the supply of newly procured equipment, such as vehicles, sensors and night combat equipment will begin.

Increase in personnel

An expansion of the force structure in line with the proposals in the government bill calls for an increase in personnel. There will be a total of approximately 90 000 positions in the war organisation when it is fully staffed and equipped, compared with approximately 60 000 in 2020.

Strengthened cyber defence

Sweden’s cyber defence capability should be enhanced. This includes the ability to conduct defensive and offensive operations in the cyber domain. The systematic work on information and cyber security by actors in the field of total defence should be further strengthened.

Expanded peace time organisation

The Government considers that an expanded force structure also requires an expansion of the peacetime organisation of the Swedish Armed Forces. New peacetime organisation units may also be required for geographical, preparedness and training reasons. A military presence throughout the country also contributes to popular support for the armed forces. In line with this, the Government proposes the re-establishment of several regiments.

  • Norrland Dragoon Regiment (K 4) in Arvidsjaur
  • Älvsborg Amphibious Regiment (Amf 4) in Gothenburg
  • Uppland Air Wing (F 16) in Uppsala
  • Dalarna Regiment (I 13) in Falun
  • Västernorrland Regiment (I 21) in Sollefteå, with a training detachment in Östersund
  • Bergslagen Artillery Regiment (A 9) in Kristinehamn.

Civil defence

Civil defence encompasses the whole of society and many actors must collaborate and work towards achieving its goal. Creating a strong civil defence is therefore a process that will need to continue for many years to come. Activities are carried out by many different actors: government agencies, municipalities, regions, the business sector and voluntary organisations.

In order to strengthen and further intensify the reconstruction of civil defence, the Government’s focus is a gradual strengthening that includes EUR 0.1 billion in 2021, EUR 0.15 billion in 2022, EUR 0.25 billion in 2023, EUR 0.3 billion in 2024 and EUR 0.38 billion in 2025. Together with the funds allocated in the Budget Bill for 2018, total civil defence funds will amount to EUR 0.42 billion in 2025.

When it comes to civil defence the Bill presents several proposals that would provide society with an increased capability and resilience to manage an armed attack or war on Swedish territory. The proposals will also strengthen crisis preparedness efforts in peacetime.

The investments and efforts that Sweden now are making in civil defence aim to strengthen resilience in several important societal functions:

  • Healthcare
  • Food and drinking water supply
  • Transport
  • Law enforcement and security
  • Financial preparedness
  • Energy supply
  • Electronic communications and mail
  • Protective security
  • Cyber security
  • Protection of the civilian population
  • Psychological defence

Another part of the work of safeguarding the most important societal functions is strengthening information and cyber security and reducing vulnerabilities. An important part of this is establishing a cyber security centre. The Government considers that a cyber security centre will have a concrete impact on Sweden’s ability to prevent and handle antagonistic threats.

Sweden’s civil defence and military defence need to be developed in a coordinated fashion and there should be coherent planning for total defence. Total defence resources will be designed so that they can also strengthen society’s ability to prevent and handle severe emergencies affecting society. Crisis preparedness and civil defence should therefore be seen as reinforcing one another.

Review in 2023 and the period 2026–2030

Given the increased ambition level and significant financial contributions, achieving the intended effect and the effective use of public funds needs to be ensured. A total defence monitoring and evaluation agency will be established by 1 January 2023 and funded through appropriations.

In the Budget Bill for 2024, the Government will return to the Riksdag to ensure that implementation of the Defence Resolution is continuing as planned.