The Government’s directions state that from 2008 onwards the Swedish Armed Forces may transfer the sum of SEK 170.5 million from its materiel budget to unit operations. In addition, for 2008, the credit limit against next year’s budget is being increased.
"We shall now be analysing the content of the directive to see what consequences this will entail for our operations", says Lieutenant General Jan Salestrand, Head of Production for the Swedish Armed Forces. "First and foremost we have to establish the financial parameters for 2008. The fact that our credit limit against next year’s budget has been increased does not necessarily mean that we shall be utilising this increased credit to the full, since this would simply be transferring the problem to next year. We already know that we have to make comprehensive cost savings after the first quarter of 2008, but just how much and in which areas remains a question."
The planning directions leave open the possibility of cutting short the current basic training for up to 2,000 national service conscripts.
"This possibility is not going to be implemented. Partly because it is important to rotate our mission based units, not least with regard to our participation in international crisis management missions, and partly because the Armed Forces believes that it would be morally indefensible from the point of view of the young men and women who have already started their period of service", says Jan Salestrand.
Complex planning situation for 2009
In accordance with the planning directions, the Armed Forces will come back to the Government with supplementary items for the budget proposals for 2009 which were submitted in March. Those proposals were based on the assumption that the Armed Forces would be given approval for the redistribution of a total of SEK 850 million from its materiel budget to the budget for unit operations. The directions now state that the sum will be SEK 170.5 million. The Government also wishes the Armed Forces to act on the assumption that the level of the materiel budget will be reduced from and including the year 2009 and that a part of this budget will be transferred to the budget for international peace support operations.
"Plans for 2009 have been the subject of discussion with operational units for some time, but we find ourselves in a very difficult and complex situation. We cannot, of course, know what the significance of possible credits for this year will be during next year, while at the same time the financial limit for unit operations is being reduced as a result of the limited transfer between budgets", says Jan Salestrand.
The consequences will be spelled out in the Armed Forces’ supplementary items for the budget proposals to be submitted on 15 May. The final answer will be given in the Government’s Budget Proposition for 2009 in September in parallel with Supplementary Budget Two for 2008.
"On this basis, exactly how we shall be able to adjust internal planning between units and Armed Forces Headquarters is impossible to say with the position as it is today. But it will be exceptionally difficult", says Jan Salestrand.
In brief, the planning directions state:
- that the Armed Forces are to submit proposals for measures that will enable a balance to be achieved between tasks and financial resources in the budget year 2010 and beyond
- that for 2008 and 2009 the sum of SEK 170.5 million will be transferred from budget allocation 6:2 (materiel and establishments) to budget allocation 6:1 (unit operations, preparedness and peace support operations and the like)
- what the credit levels are for the various budget allocations during 2008 and 2009
- that the Armed Forces are to work on the assumptions that the allocation for materiel and establishments will be reduced by SEK 650 million as from and including 2009 and that a part of this amount, SEK 130 million, will be transferred to the budget allocation for unit operations, preparedness and peace support operations
- which activities are to be carried out during 2008 irrespective of levels of funding allocated (for example the build-up of certain capabilities, the basic training of national service conscripts and the conduct of certain exercises and the like).