Sweden is facing complex threat situation

The current antagonistic threat situation that Sweden is facing is political, economic and military, all at once – not “either or”. Thus, the threat situation is now broader and more complex. The situation is described in the recently published Military Intelligence and Security Service's annual report for 2020.

FILE PHOTO: A Russian flag is seen on the laptop screen in front of a computer screen on which cyber code is displayed, in this illustration picture taken March 2, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo  X02307
The antagonistic threat against Sweden is directed at the defence capability, welfare and democracy. Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters/TT
Lena Hallin på rikskonferensen.
Hybrid, covert and deniable methods are becoming more commonplace, says General Major Lena Hallin, head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service. Photo: Folk och försvar

 In 2020, power politics, in Europe and globally, has become more hard-core.  At the same time, there has been a weakening of rule-based order and predictability. The on-going pandemic has accelerated these tendencies and the assessment by the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST) is that there is an elevated risk of Sweden being subjected to strong pressure in this environment.

"It involves external threats, which increasingly are manifested also in internal security. The threats are aimed at the Swedish defence capability, welfare and democracy. Hybrid, covert and deniable methods are now commonplace", says General Major Lena Hallin, head of MUST.

Military activities in the vicinity of Sweden have continued to increase in intensity and have become ever more advanced. The current tendency to view economy and technology as strategic tools has been reinforced. Countries like Russia and China have many tools at their disposal to promote their public interests, and they also have good coordination capabilities. Their intelligence activities aimed at Sweden and the Swedish Armed Forces are extensive.

"This is the reality in which MUST operates. As I summarise MUST’s operations over the past year, I am proud to say that we – together with our national and international partners – have been able to fulfil the tasks we have received from our primary principals; the Swedish government and the Swedish Armed Forces", General Major Lena Hallin concludes.