Full steam ahead with Nato preparations

The Swedish contribution to Nato may consist of ships to the alliance’s permanent naval forces, combat aircraft to the stand-by forces for air policing and land units to the reinforcement units in the Baltic states and eastern Europe, Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). This is stated in the initial assessment and advice from the Swedish Armed Forces, submitted to the government in connection with the Swedish Nato application.

Military vehicles on the road
Military vehicles on the road
In the recent Vigilant Knife exercise, cooperation within Nato was exercised. Photo: Photo: Bezav Mahmoud/Swedish Armed Forces
Three participants in the Vigilant Knife exercise
With Swedish and Finnish memberships, a continuous Nato territory will be formed in the Nordic region, with an extended border towards Russia. Photo: Photo: Bezav Mahmoud/Swedish Armed Forces.

“A Nato membership will trigger a new dynamic for Sweden as concerns threats, challenges and ways of defending the country”, says Major General Thomas Nilsson, coordinator of the Swedish Armed Forces’ Nato preparations.

The security situation in the vicinity of Sweden has deteriorated lately. Russia’s war in Ukraine as well as the Swedish application for Nato membership and the subsequent accession process have fundamentally altered the security situation for Sweden.

“Swedish territory will be of major importance for the alliance’s defence of Finland and the Baltic states.  Sweden’s accession to Nato will also change the conditions for the defence of northern Norway, the control of the maritime links in the North Sea, and consequently, in the inlets to the Baltic Sea”, says Thomas Nilsson.

With Swedish and Finnish memberships, a continuous Nato territory will be formed in the Nordic region, with an extended border towards Russia – a northern part of the border, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean.

Strategically important areas in Sweden will gain military importance as they will be used for the protection of Nato member states’ territories. Swedish contributions may also include support for the deployment of allied forces, storage and construction of supporting infrastructure for transportation, deployment, command and protection.

“A suitable contribution would be to develop the host nation support and the Swedish capacity to constitute a base area for defence operations. Sweden may also be an adequate location for the deployment of allied command capability”, says Thomas Nilsson.

Swedish defence plans will gradually be revised and coordinated with Nato defence plans. New directions and areas may therefore become of interest. The Swedish Armed Forces has also found that there is a lack of Swedish personnel in the central structures of Nato; structures where major influence is exerted within the alliance.

“Swedish representation at the Nato headquarters, various higher tactical staffs and the operational staffs should be given priority initially”, says Thomas Nilsson.

The initial assessment made by the Swedish Armed Forces largely deals with issues of central importance, but it is too early to present final conclusions.

“The collected advice on Nato from the Swedish Armed Forces will be given as part of the comprehensive assessment to be submitted to the government on 1 November 2022”, says Thomas Nilsson.