Vision submitted

Last Friday the Swedish Armed Forces submitted to the Government a document setting out their vision for the new mission-oriented organisation 2014. The document will form the basis for the Government’s work on a new defence policy Bill. The Bill is due to be put before the Riksdag later this spring.

Supreme Commander Håkan Syrén and Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors. Photo: Niklas Ehlén/Combat Camera

The planning guidelines also include governing factors from the Defence Commission report, the Government’s instruction that the basic organisation should not be altered during the current mandate period and that the defence budget is to remain unchanged until 2014.

What was the task?

In November 2008, after some delay, the Swedish Armed Forces received planning guidelines from the Government requiring them to produce by 30 January 2009 a document setting out the shape of the new mission-oriented defence organisation for the year 2014.

The guidelines state that the Swedish Armed Forces, working with others, are to contribute to the overarching objectives by carrying out the following tasks:

  • To defend Sweden and uphold fundamental values and interests by participation in missions globally, in Europe, in Sweden’s adjacent areas and in Sweden itself.
  • To detect and counter any violation of Swedish territory.
  • With existing resources and capability, to contribute to the protection of society and emergency preparedness, as well as being able to assist other areas of society as necessary.

The document submitted by the Armed Forces contains proposals in four areas:

  • The mission-oriented organisation – An organisation which is divided into standing units, contract units in which service is obligatory, and a Home Guard which is being developed as national protection forces. Standing rapid response units are to be manned and equipped and are to be capable of being ready to deploy on a mission at substantially less than one year’s notice.
  • Provision of personnel – The provision of personnel is to be based on recruiting, not on an obligation to serve.
  • Provision of materiel and logistics – Create an effective and coherent logistic process, with the number of actors being reduced.

These tasks are to be carried out with an unchanged budget which in 2009 is approximately SEK 39 billion, and with finances in balance by 2014. Further, the Armed Forces are not to propose changes in infrastructure/basic organisation before the parliamentary election in 2010.

Continuing work

In mid-March 2009 the Government will place a Proposition before the Riksdag on the way ahead for the future long-term development of the Armed Forces. This Proposition will probably be followed by other more specific Propositions during the spring which will address a range of matters from the provision of personnel to logistics.

A parliamentary resolution setting out the new way ahead for the Swedish Armed Forces is not expected before June at the earliest. It is expected that the Proposition will come into force in 2010 and that the changes will be fully implemented by 2014.