Why does the Swedish Armed Forces exercise?

Exercises are necessary for maintaining a strong and credible defence.

Flygtekniker färdigställer ett JAS 39 gripen inför kommande flygpass under ACE 19
Flygtekniker färdigställer ett JAS 39 gripen inför kommande flygpass under ACE 19
The ACE 19 (Arctic Challenge Exercise) was conducted for the fourth time in 2019, within the scope of the Nordic defene cooperation. Photo: Jesper Sundström

The Swedish Armed Forces has a clear mandate from the government and the Swedish parliament to safeguard Sweden’s freedom by means of military defence. Being good at defence is not enough. We have to be better than the potential enemy.

That is why we exercise. Regularly and to an increasing degree.

A variety of defence exercises

Each year, a large number of exercises are conducted, with various ranges and purposes; from command and staff exercises in computer-generated environments with a few participants, to large exercises with personnel, vehicles and other materiel in the field and in built-up areas, at sea and in the air.

The three service branches and joint armed forces exercise together as well as separately. We also exercise with other government agencies and organisations in civil society.

To an increasing extent, exercises are also conducted together with other countries’ military forces.

A complex world requires coordinated exercises

The reason why we exercise with other countries is that we need to enhance our capability of cooperation, not least with NATO member states. The ever changing and complex surrounding world makes demands for a defence in which several countries stand prepared to cooperate militarily.

By exercising extensively, we also manage to maintain and strengthen the military threshold, i.e. making the enemy carefully consider the risks of attacking our country. A credible and tangible threshold effect is also necessary in order for Sweden to pursue and assert its security policy.