Within the framework of government decisions and objectives on defence, the Chief of Defence manages short-term issues against long-term, strategic outcomes.

The Chief of Defence supervises the entire Armed Forces, assisted primarily by the Director General and Armed Forces Command, while Headquarters assists the Chief of Defence in matters of high-level command. At a local level, the Chief of Defence is assisted by the heads of local units, schools and training centres.

Armed Forces Headquarters  comprises the Chief of Defence, the Director General, the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander Armed Forces HQ, the Chief Financial Officer, (CFO), the Chief of Armed Forces Training and Development Staff, the Director of Human Resources, the Chief of Joint Operations, the Director of Military Intelligence and Security Service, the Director of Communication and Public Affairs, and the Chief Legal Advisor.

The Armed Forces Headquarters handles matters that the Chief of Defence will or may decide on, and matters that are of significant strategic importance.

General Micael Bydén has held the position of Chief of Defence since 2015.