Swedish Armed Forces
|Swedish Armed Forces
Coat of Arms of the Swedish Armed Forces
|Service branches||Signals Intelligence Service|
|Minister for Defence||Peter Hultqvist|
|Supreme Commander||General Sverker Göranson|
|Military age||16-70 years old|
|2,065,782 males, age 18-47 (2010 est.),
1,995,451 females, age 18-47 (2010 est.)
|1,709,592 males, age 18-47 (2010 est.),
1,649,875 females, age 18-47 (2010 est.)
|58,937 males (2010 est.),
56,225 females (2010 est.)
|Active personnel||15,400 Soldiers
|Reserve personnel||12,000 Reservists|
|Budget||SEK 45.578 billion (USD ~6.46 billion) (2012)|
|Percent of GDP||1.13% (2012)|
|History||Military history of Sweden|
|Ranks||Military ranks of the Swedish Armed Forces|
The Swedish Armed Forces (Swedish: Försvarsmakten) is a Swedish Government Agency responsible for the maintenance and operation of the armed forces of Sweden. The primary task of the Swedish Armed Forces is to train, organize and deploy military forces, domestically and abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to defend the country in the event of war.
The Armed Forces consists of three service branches; the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. Since 1994, the three service branches are organized within a single unified government agency, headed by the Supreme Commander. However, the services maintain their separate identities through the use of different uniforms, ranks, and other service specific traditions.
Sweden's military forces were for over a century built upon the concepts of conscription and territorial defence, supporting the longstanding national policy of non-alignment. Until the end of the Cold War nearly all men reaching the age of military service were conscripted. In 2010, peacetime conscription was abolished, to be replaced with an all-volunteer force. The transfer to the new system is planned to be fully completed in 2018. Units from the Swedish Armed Forces are currently on deployment in Afghanistan (as part of ISAF) and in Kosovo. Moreover, Sweden contributes military observers to various countries and serve as the lead nation for an EU Battle Group approximately once every three years.
- 1 History
- 2 Doctrine
- 3 Organization
- 4 Personnel
- 5 Other government agencies reporting to the Ministry of Defence
- 6 Voluntary defence organizations
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The Swedish Armed Forces have four main tasks:
- To assert the territorial integrity of Sweden.
- To defend the country if attacked by a foreign nation.
- To support the civil community in case of disasters (e.g. flooding).
- To deploy forces to international peace support operations.
Sweden aims to have the option of remaining neutral in case of proximate war. However, Sweden cooperates militarily with a number of foreign countries. As a member of the European Union, Sweden is acting as the lead nation for EU Battlegroups and also has a close cooperation, including joint exercises, with NATO through its membership in Partnership for Peace and Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 2008 a partnership was initiated between the Nordic countries to, among other things, increase the capability of joint action, and this led to the creation of NORDEFCO. As a response to the expanded military cooperation the defence proposition of 2009 stated that Sweden will not remain passive if a Nordic country or a member of the European Union were attacked.
Recent political decisions have strongly emphasized the capability to participate in international operations, to the point where this has become the main short-term goal of training and equipment acquisition. However, after the 2008 South Ossetia war territorial defense was once again emphasized. Until then most units could not be mobilized within one year. In 2009 the Minister for Defence stated that in the future all of the armed forces must capable of fully mobilizing within one week.
In 2013, after Russian air exercises in close proximity to the Swedish border were widely reported, only six percent of Swedes expressed confidence in the ability of the nation to defend itself.
The Supreme Commander (Swedish: Överbefälhavaren) is a four-star general or flag officer that is the agency head of the Swedish Armed Forces, and is the highest ranking professional officer on active duty. The Supreme Commander in turn reports, normally through the Minister for Defence, directly to the Government of Sweden, which in turn answers to the Riksdag.
The King of Sweden was, before the enactment of the 1974 Instrument of Government, the de jure commander in chief (Swedish: högste befälhavare), but currently only has a stricly ceremonial and representative role with respect to the Armed Forces.
The Swedish Armed Forces consists of three service branches; the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. Since 1994, the three service branches are organized within a single unified government agency, headed by the Supreme Commander. However, the services maintain their separate identities through the use of different uniforms, ranks, and other service specific traditions. In addition, there is the Home Guard (Swedish: Hemvärnet).
Armed Forces Headquarters
The Armed Forces Headquarters is the highest level of command in the Swedish Armed Forces. It is led by the Supreme Commander with a civilian Director General as his deputy, with functional directorates having different responsibilities (e.g. the Military Intelligence and Security Service). Overall, the Armed Forces Headquarters have about 1000 employees, including civilian personnel.
Some of the schools listed below answer to other units, listed under the various branches of the Armed Forces.
- Artillery Combat School (ArtSS) located in Boden
- Armed Forces Technical School (FMTS) located in Halmstad
- Air Force Uppsala Schools (LSS) located in Uppsala
- National Defence College (FHS) located in Stockholm
- Field Work School (FarbS) located in Eksjö
- Air Force Air Officer School (FBS) located in Uppsala
- Parachute Ranger School (Fallskärmsjägarskolan - FJS) located in Karlsborg
- Flight School (FlygS) located in Linköping/Malmen
- Helicopter Combat School (HkpSS) located in Linköping/Malmen
- Home Guard Combat School (HvSS) located in Södertälje
- Command School (LedS) located in Enköping
- Anti-Aircraft Combat School (LvSS) located in Halmstad
- Military Academy Halmstad (MHS H) located in Halmstad
- Military Academy Karlberg (MHS K) located in Stockholm/Karlberg
- Land Warfare Centre (MSS) located in Skövde also a detachment in Kvarn
- Naval Warfare Centre (SSS) located in Karlskrona and Stockholm/Berga 
- Armed Forces Centre for Defence Medicine (FömedC) located in Gothenburg, with a section in Linköping
- Armed Forces Logistics (FMLOG) located in Stockholm, Boden, Karlskrona and Arboga
- Armed Forces Intelligence and Security Centre (FMUndSäkC) located in Uppsala
- Armed Forces Musical Centre (FöMusC) located in Stockholm/Kungsängen
- Recruitment Centre (RekryC) located in Stockholm
- National CBRN Defense Centre (SkyddC) located in Umeå
- Swedish EOD and Demining Centre (SWEDEC) located in Eksjö
- Swedish Armed Forces International Center (Swedint) located in Stockholm/Kungsängen
Deployed units and units ready for or mobilization
The table describes what units Sweden currently has deployed abroad and what units may be mobilized within one year. Ready-within-one-year means that there is equipment but no currently contracted personnel. Mobilizing units outside of the R10-R90 readiness range will entail placing units on a wartime footing, wherein officers would have to leave their current assignments in order to command their units.
|Unit||Current||Ready 30 days||Ready 90 days||Ready within one year||Readiness not set|
|Battle Group HQ||1||1|
|Technical Support battalion||1/3||1|
|Heavy Transport company||1 platoon||1|
|Hospital Support company||3|
|Special Forces Units||1||1|
|Ranger battalion||1 platoon||1|
|Pioneer battalion||1 company||2|
|Home Guard battalions||60|
|Mechanised battalion||1 company||1 + tank company||5|
|Light mechanised battalion||1||1|
|Maritime surveillance and information battalion||1|
|Flottila Command units||2|
|Corvette squadronsa||2 ships||2|
|Mine warfare squadrons||2 ships||2|
|Submarine flotilla||1 submarine||1|
|Amphibious battalion||1 company (+)||1|
|Amphibious surveillance company||1|
|Maritime base battalion||1 company||1|
|Air command and control battalion||1|
|Air command group||1|
|Air combat squadronsb||1||1||2|
|Air transport squadron||part||1|
|Central air transport squadron||1|
|SIGINT squadron||1 unit||1|
|Air base battalion||1 unit||2|
|Afghanistan (ISAF) mechanised rifle company(++)||500 men|
|Kosovo (KFOR) mechanised company||252 troops|
|Gulf of Aden (Operation Atalanta) 3 ships||160 men|
Nordic Battle Group
The Nordic Battle Group is a temporary formation of the Swedish Armed Forces, tasked as one of the EU Battle Groups. Sweden was lead nation for a Battle Group during the first half of 2011.
Currently, Sweden has deployed military forces in Afghanistan with the International Security Assistance Force and in Kosovo as a part of the multinational Kosovo Force as well as a naval force deployed to the gulf of Aden as a part of Operation Atalanta. Military observers from Sweden have been sent to a large number of countries, including Georgia, North Korea, Lebanon, Israel and Sri Lanka and Sweden also participates with staff officers to missions in Sudan and Chad
From national service to an all-volunteer force
In mid-1995, with the national service system based on universal military training, the Swedish Army consisted of 15 maneuver brigades and, in addition, 100 battalions of various sorts (artillery, engineers, rangers, air defense, amphibious, security, surveillance etc.) with a mobilization-time of between one and two days. When national service was replaced by a selective service system, fewer and fewer young men were drafted due to the reduction in size of the armed forces. By 2010 the Swedish Army had two battalions that could be mobilized within 90 days. When the volunteer system has been fully implemented by 2019, the army will consist of 7 maneuver battalions and 14 battalions of various sorts with a readiness of one week. The Home Guard will be reduced in size to 22 000 soldiers.
|National Service Force 1995||Selective Service Force 2010||All-Volunteer Force 2019|
|Maneuver units||15 brigades||2 battalions||7 battalions|
|Auxiliary units||100 battalions||4 companies||14 battalions|
|Readiness||1 to 2 days||90 days||7 days|
Military personnel of the Swedish Armed Forces consists of:
- Officer OFF/K - Regular continuously serving officers (OF1-OF9).
- Officer OFF/T - Reserve part-time officers (OF1-OF3).
- Specialistofficer SO/K - Regular continuously serving NCO (OR6-OR9).
- Specialistofficer SO/T - Reserve part-time serving NCO (OR6-OR7).
- GSS/K - Regular continuously serving enlisted (OR1-OR5).
- GSS/T - Reserve part-time serving enlisted (OR1-OR5).
K = Continuously, T = Part-time
Planned size of the Swedish Armed Forces 2011–2020
|Category||Continuously serving||Part-time serving||Contracted|
|OFF||3,900 OFF/K||2,500 OFF/T||-|
|SO||4,900 SO/K||included in the above SO/T||-|
|GSS||6,600 GSS/K||9,500 GSS/T||-|
|Swedish Home Guard||-||-||22,000|
Annual recruitment of GSS is assumed to be about 4,000 persons.
Criticism and research
In 2008, professor Mats Alvesson of the University of Lund and Karl Ydén of the University of Göteborg claimed in an op-ed, based on Ydén's doctoral dissertation, that a large part of the officer corps of the Swedish Armed Forces was preoccupied with administrative tasks instead of training soldiers or partaking in international operations. They claimed that Swedish officers were mainly focused on climbing the ranks and thereby increasing their wages and that the main way of doing this is to take more training courses, which decreases the number of officer that are specialized in their field. Therefore, the authors claimed, the Swedish Armed Forces were poorly prepared for its mission.
Major changes have been made to the officer system since then.
The transformation of the old invasion armed forces to the new smaller and more mobile force has also been criticized. According to the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces the present defence budget will not be enough to implement the new defence structure by 2019. And that even when finished the armed forces will only be able to fight for a week at most.
During 2013 several Russian Air Force exercises over the Baltic Sea aimed at Swedish Military targets have made the future of the Swedish Armed Forces a hot topic and several political parties now want to increase defence funding.
When an army based on national service (conscription) was introduced in 1901 all commissioned officers had ranks that were senior of the warrant officers (underofficerare) and non-commissioned officers (underbefäl). In a reform 1926 the relative rank of the then senior warrant officer, fanjunkare, was increased to be equal with the junior officer rank underlöjtnant and above the most junior officer rank fänrik. In 1960 the relative rank of the warrant officers were elevated further so that
i. The lowest warrant officer, sergeant, had relative rank just below the lowest officer rank, fänrik.
ii. The second warrant officer rank, fanjunkare, had relative rank between fänrik and löjtnant
iii. The highest warrant officer rank, förvaltare, had relative rank between first lieutenant and captain.
In 1972 the personnel structure changed, reflecting increased responsibilities of warrant and non-commissioned officers, renaming the underofficerare as kompaniofficerare, giving them the same ranks as company grade officers (fänrik, löjtnant, kapten). Underbefäl was renamed plutonsofficerare and given the rank titles of sergeant and fanjunkare, although their relative rank were now placed below fänrik. The commissioned officers were renamed regementsofficerare, beginning with löjtnant. The three-track career system was maintained, as well as three separate messes.
A major change in the personnel structure in 1983 (NBO 1983), merged the three professional corps of platoon officers, company officers, and regimental officers into a one-track career system within a single corps called professional officers (yrkesofficerare). The three messes were also merged to one.
In 2008 the Riksdag decided to create a two-track career system with a category called specialistofficerare. When implementing the parliamentary resolution the Supreme Commander decided that some ranks in this category should, like the old underofficerare ranks in 1960-1972, have a relative rank higher than the most junior officers.
Other government agencies reporting to the Ministry of Defence
- Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, or Försvarets materielverk (FMV)
- Swedish National Service Administration, or Pliktverket
- Swedish National Defence College, or Försvarshögskolan
- Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, or Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA)
- Swedish Defence Research Agency, or Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI)
- Swedish Coast Guard, or Kustbevakningen
- Swedish Emergency Management Agency, or Krisberedskapsmyndigheten
- Swedish Rescue Services Agency, or Räddningsverket
Voluntary defence organizations
- Society and Defence
- Scandinavian defence union
- Per Albin Line
- Swedish Fortifications Agency
- Swedish National Inspectorate of Strategic Products
- List of Swedish wars
- List of Swedish military commanders
- List of Swedish monarchs
- List of Swedish regiments
- List of military aircraft of Sweden
- SFS 2010:448. Lag (1994:1809) om totalförsvarsplikt. Stockholm: Department of Justice. "Lag (1994:1809) om totalförsvarsplikt". Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- European Defence Agency,National Defence Data 2012 accessed on March 8, 2013 from http://www.eda.europa.eu/docs/default-source/finance-documents/national-defence-data-2012.pdf
- O’DWYER, GERARD (14 January 2014). "Sweden Considers Broader Alliances With NATO, EU". defensenews.com. Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Försvarets fyra huvuduppgifter (In Swedish)
- "Sverige är militärt alliansfritt. Denna säkerhetspolitiska linje, med möjlighet till neutralitet vid konflikter i vårt närområde, har tjänat oss väl." Sveriges säkerhetspolitik (In Swedish)
- "Nordic Battlegroup - Försvarsmakten". Mil.se. 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2009-08-05.[dead link]
- Sverige och NATO (In Swedish)
- "Nordic defence cooperation - Försvarsmakten". Mil.se. 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- "Background to cooperation - Försvarsmakten". Mil.se. 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- Ett användbart försvar, last paragraph (In Swedish)
- Försvarsreformen (In Swedish)
- "Our task - Försvarsmakten". Mil.se. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- "The Swedish military service system - Försvarsmakten". Mil.se. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- Ett användbart försvar
- Benitez, Jorge (30 April 2013). "Most Swedes doubt Sweden can defend itself". acus.org. Atlantic Council. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Armed Forces Headquarters (HKV) - Försvarsmakten". Mil.se. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- (Swedish) 
- (Swedish) 
- Training Centres, Swedish Armed Forces
- Ivarsson, Ulf (February 2007). "Pendeln måste slå tillbaka". Hemvärnet (1): 5.
- Ulf Jonsson & Peter Nordlund, Frivilliga soldater istället för plikt 8FOI 2010 12/11/2012
- "Karriärstyrda officerare skapar inkompetent försvar" (in Swedish). DN.se. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
Manpower-numbers are taken from CIA - The World Factbook
- Swedish Armed Forces - Official site