Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces

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Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
Överbefälhavaren
Högkvarteret vapen.svg
Armed Forces Headquarters coat of arms
U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Sverker Goranson.jpg
Incumbent
General Sverker Göranson

since 25 March 2009[1]
Swedish Armed Forces
Reports to The Government
Residence Karlberg Palace
Seat Lidingövägen 24, Stockholm, Sweden
Nominator Minister for Defence
Appointer The Government
Precursor None; there was no single chief of the military forces other than the King
Formation 8 December 1939
First holder Olof Thörnell
Deputy The Director-General
Website Official website

The Supreme Commander (Swedish: Överbefälhavaren; acronym: ÖB) is the highest ranked professional military officer in the Swedish Armed Forces, and is by NATO terminology the Swedish chief of defence equivalent. The Supreme Commander is the agency head of the Swedish Armed Forces and formally reports to the Government of Sweden, though normally through the Minister for Defence.[2][n 1] The primary responsibilities and duties of the Supreme Commander (and the charter for the Armed Forces) are prescribed in an ordinance issued by the Government.[3]

The Supreme Commander is, apart from the honorary ranks held by the King of Sweden and in the past other members of the Swedish Royal Family, by unwritten convention normally the only professional military officer on active duty to hold the highest rank (a four-star General or Admiral).[4]

The present Supreme Commander, General Sverker Göranson, took office on 25 March 2009.[1]

Historical background[edit]

Before the modern era, the King was expected to command the forces himself; not seldom on location during war campaigns as shown by Gustavus Adolphus, Charles X, Charles XI and Charles XII. This remained the case formally until the 20th century. From the late 19th century onwards, the were no service chiefs of either the Army and or Navy, senior commanders reported directly to the King in Council, and apart from a single Minister for Defence, no unified command structure existed.[4]

In 1936, a Supreme Commander was intended to be appointed in war-time-only, and on 1 December 1939, during World War II, the first Supreme Commander, General Olof Thörnell, was appointed. In 1942 it was decided to keep this office even after the end of the war. The Supreme Commander would in wartime formally report to the King in Council until the enactment of the new Instrument of Government in 1975, and after that to the Government.[4]

List of Officeholders[edit]

Every time a new Supreme Commander is to be appointed, there is some debate between the different services. Some feel that some kind of rotational system would be appropriate. In actuality, most Supreme Commanders have come from the Army, and only one, Håkan Syrén, from the Navy. Because he is a General of the Amphibious Corps, there has to this day not been a single Admiral to hold the office.

Name Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
1
Olof Thörnell
Thörnell, OlofGeneral Olof Thörnell
(1877–1977)
8 December 1939[4] 31 March 1944 4 years, 114 days Army
2
Helge Jung
Jung, HelgeGeneral Helge Jung
(1886–1978)
1 April 1944[4] 31 March 1951 6 years, 364 days Army
3
Nils Swedlund
Swedlund, NilsGeneral Nils Swedlund
(1898–1965)
1 April 1951[4] 30 September 1961 10 years, 182 days Army
4
Torsten Rapp
Rapp, TorstenGeneral Torsten Rapp
(1905–1993)
1 October 1961[4] 30 September 1970 8 years, 364 days Air Force
5
Stig Synnergren
Synnergren, StigGeneral Stig Synnergren
(1915–2004)
1 October 1970[4] 30 September 1978 7 years, 364 days Army
6
Lennart Ljung
Ljung, LennartGeneral Lennart Ljung
(1921–1990)
1 October 1978[4] 30 September 1986 7 years, 364 days Army
7
Bengt Gustafsson
Gustafsson, BengtGeneral Bengt Gustafsson
(born 1933)
1 October 1986[4] 30 June 1994 7 years, 272 days Army
8
Owe Wiktorin
Wiktorin, OweGeneral Owe Wiktorin
(born 1940)
1 July 1994[4] 30 June 2000 5 years, 365 days Air Force
9
Johan Hederstedt
Hederstedt, JohanGeneral Johan Hederstedt
(born 1943)
1 July 2000[4] 31 December 2003 3 years, 184 days Army
10
Håkan Syrén
Syrén, HåkanGeneral Håkan Syrén
(born 1952)
1 January 2004[4] 24 March 2009 5 years, 82 days Navy
11
Sverker Göranson
Göranson, SverkerGeneral Sverker Göranson
(born 1954)
25 March 2009[1] Incumbent 5 years, 267 days Army

Timeline[edit]

Sverker Göranson Håkan Syrén Johan Hederstedt Owe Wiktorin Bengt Gustafsson (general) Lennart Ljung (general) Stig Synnergren Torsten Rapp Nils Swedlund Helge Jung Olof Thörnell

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although the Minister for Defence heads the Ministry of Defence, the Minister cannot as a general rule issue directives in his/her own right to the Supreme Commander or any other agency director-general in the defence portfolio due to the Swedish prohibition on ministerial rule, unless such authority is provided for in specific statutory provisions

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Sverker Göranson blir ny överbefälhavare" (in Swedish). Government of Sweden. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  2. ^ "Supreme Commander". Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Förordning (2007:1266) med instruktion för Försvarsmakten" (in Swedish). Swedish Code of Statutes. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "ÖB i historien" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 

External links[edit]