As long ago as 1948 Swedish officers were acting as UN observers in the Middle East. The first contribution of Swedish troops to a UN operation took place in Suez in 1956. The Suez Battalion has been followed by units deployed to parts of the world that for many Swedes will always be associated with international peacekeeping, including Sinai, Cyprus, Lebanon, Congo, Bosnia and Kosovo.
The world’s conflicts have changed over the years from being dominated by the East-West balance of power during the Cold War period to today’s situation in which they often stem from conflicts between different ethnic groups. The Swedish Armed Forces have also evolved to meet the needs of a changing world. Today the Armed Forces’ military activities are primarily oriented towards participation in international peace support operations.
Sweden’s international forces include soldiers with both military and civil competence.