Response regarding the financial situation

Last week the Swedish Armed Forces submitted a detailed paper to the Government setting out the consequences that would follow from a redistribution of funding between the different allocations and what the consequences would be if no such re-allocation were to take place. "This would have a very serious impact on our operational activities", says Major General Sverker Göranson, Chief of Staff Swedish Army.

The overstretched financial situation of the Armed Forces has its roots in the increased cost of restructuring from an invasion-based defence organisation to a modern mission-based force structure. In order to keep within the overall defence funding framework, the Armed Forces have asked the Government for approval to transfer SEK 850 million from the materiel and research allocations to the funding allocated for operational activities.

Long-term balance
A redistribution would only solve the present problem of over-stretched finances. In the view of Major General Sverker Göranson, a reorientation of the Government’s policy position will be necessary if a long-term balance in the funding of the Armed Forces is to be achieved.

"Therefore the work to be undertaken by the Defence Commission during the spring, based on inputs including our perspective study and leading to a policy proposition towards the end of the year, will be very important. With this as a basis, we can then put forward proposals in the defence budget process for 2010 covering the necessary changes", says Major General Sverker Göranson.

It is now almost two weeks since the Armed Forces responded to questions from the Ministry of Defence regarding aspects of their funding.

Comprehensive evaluation
The new request from the Ministry asked for a thorough evaluation of the situation including what the consequences would be if there were to be no redistribution of funding between the specific allocations.

Among other things, this is about the effect that such a decision would have on the operational capabilities of the Armed Forces, how participation in international operations would be affected and what, for example, would be the effect on operational safety and recruiting.

"We have provided answers on two previous occasions but this is a little different. This is a deeper analysis of the effects and consequences of what would happen if we do implement the redistribution or if we do not", says Major General Sverker Göranson, Army Chief of Staff at Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters.

Over and above the requested re-distribution of funding between allocations, the Armed Forces have already decided on a number of measures to reduce costs in 2008. These include shortening the period of training for national service conscripts, substantially fewer exercises, a reduction in flying hours for the Air Force, less time at sea for naval vessels and reducing the level of Home Guard and voluntary activities. It is also being made clear to the Government, again in considerable detail, what the consequences of these measures will be for defence activities in the longer term.

The Armed Forces will also set out the consequences that the changed financial situation on the materiel side is likely to have on the new mission-based organisation both for this year and in coming years. The extent to which the technology research and development allocation will be affected by a redistribution of funding is also being made clear to the Government.

"Since our response is detailed and refers to operational activities, the document is classified Secret. What I can say is that the consequences would be serious for our operational activities if the redistribution of funding that has been requested is not implemented", says Major General Sverker Göranson.