05/21/2017: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist at the Pentagon to discuss their countries’ alliance, May 18, 2017.
With the deployment of F-35s to the UK and then to Estonia and Bulgaria, the Trump Administration is focused clearly on NATO security and defense.
And Northern Europe is a key part of the effort, notably with Denmark, Norway and Sweden focusing on enhanced cooperation and capabilities.
Recent articles on the Swedish Ministry of Defence website provide insights into the changing Swedish perspectives on the priority on defense in Northern Europe.
Total defence receives SEK 500 million in additional funding
In the spring budget, the Government has proposed extra funding to strengthen total defence this year. The Government is allocating an additional SEK 500 million to the Swedish Armed Forces and Sweden’s total defence capability in 2017.
In the spring amending budget, the Government has proposed additional funding of SEK 405 million to the Swedish Armed Forces.
This additional funding will be used to:
- Increase the preparedness and availability of military units;
- Strengthen the Battlegroup of Gotland with anti-aircraft capability;
- Carry out exercises and increase the numbers involved in exercises that are already planned;
- Improve cyber security; and
- Purchase spare parts and vehicles for units.
In addition, the Government has proposed SEK 60 million to strengthen municipalities’ and county councils’ work in the area of civilian defence, SEK 15 million for the county administrative boards for total defence planning, SEK 10 million for the National Defence Radio Establishment to strengthen society’s resilience to cyberattacks against vital public services and SEK 10 million for the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency for efforts to counter cyber-attacks.
Sweden re-activates conscription
The Swedish government has decided to re-activate conscription from January 1 2018.
The security environment in Europe and in Sweden’s vicinity has deteriorated and the all-volunteer recruitment hasn’t provided the Armed Forces with enough trained personnel. The re-activating of the conscription is needed for military readiness.
Trained personnel are fundamental for building military capability. In 2016 the Armed Forces lacked 1 000 active squad leaders, soldiers and sailors as well as 7 000 reservists.
Recruitment to the Armed Forces will be both voluntary and conscription. Individual motivation, interest and will should to be considered as much as possible.
The Armed Forces is planning for 4 000 recruits annually in basic military training in 2018 and 2019.
The modern conscription is gender neutral and will include both women and men.