To Defend or not to Defend?


A Swedish infantry squad on display.

The Swedish Minister of Defence has expressed his views on the future of the Swedish defence. In principle, he wants a core of permanent units modelled on the Nordic Battlegroup of 2008. These units would be ready for both rapid reaction national defence and international deployment. The size of the units would be about one brigade consisting of five batallions of about 1,000 troops each.

The model is based on the lessons learned from the conflict in Georgia this summer, when Russia obtained control by deploying a fairly small number of troops very quickly. In today’s modern world there would not be enough time to bring a dormant national defence to life in times of conflict.

This plan is the first sensible one for the Swedish defence that I have heard in a decade or so. The so-called expeditionary defence turned out to be a fake. For all the time and money spent, Sweden has only managed to deploy about 800 dispersed and lightly armed guard/patrol personnel to Africa, the Balkans and Afganistan. It is of very little use to Sweden or any one else. The formation of the Nordic Battlegroup was a success but it was a big waste to disband it after its six months’ term.

The proposal is similar to the one that I suggested about a week ago (see below), except that I wanted to maintain general conscription. If something has to go, then I prefer letting general conscription go to allow for the creation of the suggetsed permanent units.

Hopefully, the Goverment will be able to introduce these measures. However, the Swedish people is very conservative and somewhat naïve in matters of defence. Some are still living the old lies of neutrality and many will be opposed to a professional (and efficient) defence without really knowing why.

If Sweden wants to reinstate its territorial defence and protect its national security, today is the time to do it. Tomorrow may be too late.

Sources in Swedish: SvD



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