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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Swedish One-Week Army

We may have some world-class recruitment ads, but what will there be left to join in 2014?

Sweden's top general ended 2012 by publicly stating that the Swedish Armed Forces can only defend against one minor attack and only for one week. The Swedish Minister for Defense then conceded that Swedish security policy is basically wishful thinking.

Of course, Minister of Defense Karin Enström did not use such words, but that was the essence of what she said. On top of that, our top general, Sverker Göranson, verified to our nation's one and only defense correspondent, Mikael Holmström, that he still believes it may be necessary to scrap a full branch of the Swedish Armed Forces, due to the defense policy of the Swedish government. Personally, I think the most serious deficiency of the policy is not a lack of funding but what is behind it, a lack of interest and consequently also understanding.

I believe there is little more General Göranson could do except resign in protest.

To say that the above disturbs me is putting it very mildly. Sadly, the civil defense of Sweden is hardly in any better condition. In fact, the Swedish state seems to even lack basic ideas about how to tackle a severe global crisis of some sort.

Strangely enough, our media has largely failed to report that our closest neighbour, Norway, is doing the opposite, spending more on defense during recent years and especially improving training, even prolonging the basic training period for conscripts at the northernmost border. In fact, last fall Norway even established a new branch of the Norwegian Armed Forces, the Norwegian Cyber Force.

The Swedish Armed Forces has three branches, Army, Navy and Air Force. For now.


  1. Sweden appears to have what I call the 1809 problem. Not having done anything since the age of muskets, Sweden has very little idea of what a military should do. I think this problem also manifests itself in problems Sweden has with recruitment as well. I have talked to the Social Democrats and they appear to have no idea what to do with defence in Sweden either. So, I don't think it's a problem likely to get fixed for a very long time. Sadly, I think it will probably take a war for Sweden to get kicked out of this problem.

    The Swedish military is in a serious mess and Sweden has no interest to fix it. :(

    It makes me think of how the British army was in the 1920s and 30s or just before the Falklands war.

    It will take many years and a serious commitment to fix this mess.

  2. I see the (non-)defence minister has now said that a one week defence is all that Sweden needs!

    It's a good example of near sighted thinking that has gone wrong time and time again in the past! I look out of my front door and see no burglars, therefore, I don't need to lock my door at night! Funny how monkeys just repeat the same mistakes over and over again like they never learn! I have hopped the Social Democrats might have a better idea. I finally got a reply back form them but it was just a vague wish-washy reply which suggest they have no idea either! :(

    Political situations can change far faster than it takes to build an effective defence. You don't build an army for today; you build an army for tomorrow! We have no idea what tomorrow will bring so we always have to build a defence hoping for the best but planning for the worse. It looks to me that Sweden has had life far to easy for far too long that we now have defence thinking detached for the real world.

  3. Thank you for your comments and I must say I now can only feel even more shame about the Swedish government's non-handling of national security and defence matters. Short-sighted in the extreme.

  4. Guys,

    Who is likely to invade you? Plus you are in the EU so they would have to come to your aid meaning you probably would only need to hold key infrastructure for a week before NATO turned up.


  5. Hi Kevin,
    No serious person believes any nation is interested in taking over Sweden. However, that does not mean that we can not be affected by, say, a Russian-Baltic conflict/war or a Russia-Nato war in the Arctic. In fact, with the current state of affairs the risk that parts of our territory (especially Gotland) would be affected is hard to ignore. Cheers, Lars