Financial situation under strain

A directive containing the final mission proposals has today been sent out to all units, schools and centres.  These proposals will govern activities until the mission statement is finalised and issued in mid-February. They also provide the basis for units', schools' and centres' final mission proposals which are to be submitted to the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters by 31 January.

"The financial situation of the Swedish Armed Forces will have serious consequences for activities in 2008", says Lieutenant General Jan Salestrand. Photo: Erik Lagersten, Combat Camera

Objectives included in the directive are:

  • national preparedness is to be maintained
  • rotation units and operations for 2008 are to be retained
  • the preparedness of units declared to the force register (including the Nordic Battlegroup) is to be maintained
  • the basic training of national service conscripts is to be carried out to at least PersQ 2 level (joint training within a company). Soldiers and naval ratings are to be eligible for recruiting for international operations
  • training for higher levels is to be carried out
  • reform of the personnel administration system is not affected.

"Serious consequences"
"The financial situation of the Swedish Armed Forces will have serious consequences for activities in 2008", says Lieutenant General Jan Salestrand. We have to operate within our financial limits and we do that through substantial reductions in our activities. The directive is based on the agreement of the Government and Parliament to the Armed Forces’ proposal to transfer funds from the materiel budget to the budget for unit operations. If this is not approved, then further cuts will have to be made.

A number of measures
If the budget is to be balanced, a number of measures will have to be taken. The most serious consequences include the following:

  • comprehensive reductions in major unit exercises and international exercises
  • shortened conscript training for most recruits in 2008 (ten months instead of eleven)
  • a cut in flying hours
  • less time at sea for naval vessels
  • curtailment of Home Guard and voluntary activities.

Restrictions on new appointments, travel and materiel purchases, introduced in autumn 2007, will continue to apply.

There is an imbalance between tasks and resources which to a large extent originates in the transition from an invasion-based defence to modern mission-based forces. Costs which have been difficult to forecast, and to plan for, include the increased requirement for the training of units prior to participation in international operations and the increased wear and tear on materiel in such operations.

A further factor is the introduction of a new personnel administration system, which currently includes regular soldiers, and the new system of three terms for national service conscripts. In addition it has not been possible to keep to the planned rate of implementation of some parts of the savings featured in the Defence Administration Committee's report.