HELSINKI — Nonaligned Sweden stands ready to provide military support to Nordic and European Union partner nations who may come under attack, according to a new strategic report focusing on so-called total defense and submitted by the Swedish Defence Commission to the Swedish government.
Moreover, Sweden would expect EU and Nordic partner nations to come to its assistance if the country’s sovereignty is at risk. The report, titled ”Resilience,” underscores the need to build a strong defense capability based on increased spending on integrated national defense systems and critical infrastructure.
The cost estimate for the Swedish Defence Commission’s proposals to strengthen the country’s defense amounts to $502 million per year over the 2021-2025 period. The commission serves as a policy development council, shaping defense and security-related legislative proposals to the Riksdag, Sweden’s national parliament.
The commissions’s concluding analysis, according to the report, is that “the global security situation is characterized by instability and unpredictability.”
“Sweden will not remain passive if another EU Member State or Nordic country suffers a disaster or an attack. We expect these countries to take similar action if Sweden is affected. Sweden should therefore be in a position to both give and receive civil and military support,” the report says.
Significantly, the report concedes Sweden is unlikely to be able to deter an extended attack by a major hostile power on its own. The objective will be to develop an armed forces capability that has the capacity to repel and slow the pace of invasion pending the arrival of military support from partner nations.
To this end, Sweden needs to improve its preparedness and readiness to defend its national borders and independence. “In the extreme situation, the Total Defense must have a credible war fighting capability with both its military and civil defense,” the report says.
“The Total Defense concept will bring strengthening in all areas of defense and society, especially the greater integration of national defense with local and regional-level civil defense tasks and organization,” said Peter Hultqvist, Sweden’s defense minister.
The report details the various national and local command-level measures needed to drive closer integration between armed forces and civil defense capabilities. These are expected to be delivered within the total defense operating strategy. Various joint programs to achieve this goal are set to run in the 2021-2025 time frame.
Additionally, the report underlined the urgent need for Sweden to both develop dynamic, value-added defense intelligence capabilities that strengthen the armed forces’ ability to conduct effective defensive and offensive tasks and missions within the cyber domain of future threats.
The Swedish Defence Commission’s next major task will be to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the regional and global security situation, said the commission’s chairman, Björn von Sydow. This report will examine potential effects and consequences for Sweden’s defense and security policies.
“This report is due by mid-May 2019, and it will constitute an important basis for the government’s next defense bill in 2020,” von Sydow said.