Swedish Armed Forces' Director of Operations Lieutenant General Anders Lindström presented his inquiry into command, culture and confidentiality within the Special Forces units SSG (Special Protection Group) and SIG (Special Reconnaissance Group). The inquiry, which was totally open, was given information on the Special Forces units that has never previously been disclosed. Lindström’s inquiry is based on a large number of interviews with both senior officers and soldiers and written documentation from operations performed.
"The inquiry clearly establishes that Sweden's Special Forces operate well and it is important that credibility has been restored", said Supreme Commander Håkan Syrén.
Alm and Ericsson return
Lindström's inquiry did not address any one specific operation but he maintained that, overall, the Special Forces and their commanders perform their duties in an exemplary manner. He concludes his inquiry with the recommendation that the Supreme Commander reinstate Colonel Alm and Rear-Admiral Ericsson, who have both been given other duties while the special forces inquiry was taking place, to their former posts with immediate effect.
"Both Alm and Ericsson have been involved in the development of the Special Forces units and they have my full confidence", said Supreme Commander Syrén.
Lindström has also addressed several issues that were raised in the media in the spring. He states that there is no evidence to support the allegations that soldiers visited prostitutes in Africa. Nor could the investigator find any grounds to suppose there were racist tendencies within the units.
Merger of SSG and SIG
The inquiry notes that there was initial competition between the two units and opposition to each other. Differing financial and materiel resources, different selection processes and occasional failures in communication from command had led to rivalry arising. Since 2006 the units have been brought closer together under joint command and now have the same status and selection processes. Lindström states that the previous tension between the units has now disappeared.
The decision to merge SSG and SIG into one unit had already been taken in principle some time ago. The investigator recommends that a timetable for this merger be established as soon as possible.
Greater transparency and better communication
One important conclusion made by the inquiry is that there should be greater transparency in the Special Forces units. Partly to ensure that the whole of the Swedish Armed Forces command has a better understanding of what the units are doing but also to enable the experiences of the units to be better communicated within the organisation.
To prevent speculation that the strict confidentiality placed on the Special Forces units is not designed purely to protect against prying eyes, the Swedish Armed Forces must be better at commenting on and explaining the rules related to classified information.