Centre stage for international crisis management

Over the next two weeks the Swedish Armed Forces will be hosting a multinational trial designed to see how civil and military actors can coordinate their actions better in crisis management situations. Taking part in the trial will be around 300 participants from a number of different nations and organisations.

MNE started in 2001 for the purpose of investigating technical possibilities for the exchange of information between the various participants in an action. Sweden has been a member of MNE since 2004. Photo: Johan Lundahl/Combat Camera

"In a globalised world our security, values and interests can only be safeguarded if we and others actively work together to defuse and resolve crises and conflicts when they arise. This applies both globally, in Europe and in our own part of the world. Bitter experience has shown that today’s crises and conflicts can only be resolved if all civil and military actors work together in a coordinated way towards approximately the same ends", says Michael Moore, Major General and Director of Development, Swedish Armed Forces

The trial constitutes the fifth part of a comprehensive series of conceptual development experiments known as Multinational Experiment 5 (MNE5). MNE5 is intended to study the challenges which arise in crisis management, ranging from political coordination, through operational doctrines and methods right down to technical solutions for information exchange.

"For the Swedish Armed Forces, MNE means that we will have an increased capability when working with other civil actors in international actions – and vice versa. Multinational and multifunctional are the key words", says Michael Moore.

In line with the Government's strategy
During the trial, carried out at the Swedish Armed Forces' development centre in Enköping, methods developed for how civil and military actors should be able to work together to resolve a crisis will be tested. The purpose is to find out whether the methods can function in practice in international as well as in national crisis management. The United Kingdom and the United States have led the work of producing the methods tested. These methods are based on practical experience from actual operations including Afghanistan.

"This development work provides good support for the Government's strategy set out in March. It increases the importance of coordinated civil-military action in operations where Sweden is a participant", says Michael Moore.

Civil and military experts taking part
During the first week, representatives from the various countries will be set the task of resolving a fictitious crisis in West Africa. Some 40 experts will take part in the role play in areas including economics, infrastructure, humanitarian aid activities, UN representatives, legal aspects, policing and military aspects. The results will be evaluated on a continuous basis by the participating nations and organisations. Participating on behalf of Sweden will be analysts from the Defence Research Agency, FOI.

During the second week the work will focus more specifically on the areas of security and the reconstruction of basic civil functions such as energy supply, infrastructure, food supplies, health and medical facilities.

Civil – military cooperation
MNE started in 2001 for the purpose of investigating technical possibilities for the exchange of information between the various participants in an action. Up until 2006 the work was focused mainly on military methods with links to civil activity. During the course of the work there has been a growing realisation amongst the participating countries that military activities are only one part of the work of crisis resolution. In order to achieve lasting stability, many different actors have to be able to work together.

"Our experience from Afghanistan has shown an increased need to be able to coordinate work with that of civil actors such as Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Security and reconstruction have to go hand in hand – then we can create the conditions for peace, stability and development", says Michael Moore.

Following the trial in Enköping, further development and trials are planned for the autumn. 

Sweden has been a member of MNE since 2004. Apart from NATO itself, other countries participating in MNE 5 are Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The EU and seven further countries are taking part as observers. The majority of countries contribute both civil and military expertise.