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Defense Policy

Defense policy during the 2000s was based on the fundamental view that the Cold War was over, and large parts of the political establishment decided that detente was at hand "for the foreseeable future" and that invasion defense could be scrapped. The decision which with the broad political consensus - but the pendulum security policy late;y began swinging back toward a more tense situation. Russian intentions are uncertain.

Sweden’s defense command announced 17 March 2016 that the country was amending the Military Strategy Doctrine (MSD - Militärstrategisk doktrin), under which the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) deal with threats against the country’s sovereignty. The change calls for a more aggressive posture and a transition from the country’s post-Cold War-era strategy of containment. Swedish leaders cited fears of growing Russian aggression.

The revised MSD called for expanding the Swedish military force and establishing a framework to enable deployment of advanced weapons systems as part of a “sustained” and coordinated high-impact strike against attacks. The strategy also contemplates Swedish collaboration with multinational Nordic, European Union, and NATO forces against a potential Russian attack against NATO interests.

Allan Widman, Parliamentary Defense Committee chairman said, “We could not continue on a path of depletion in our Armed Forces. We live in more unpredictable times. The old military doctrine was shaped after the last Cold War when Sweden believed that Russia was on the road to becoming a real democracy that would no longer pose a threat to this country.” Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist aimed to justify the new posture by citing a fear of Russian hostility. “This deeper form of Nordic defense cooperation will provide for a direct response to aggressive Russian behavior.”

In 2015 the Social Democratic Party, the Moderate Party, the Green Party, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats agreed on a bill to parliament on the Swedish Defence covering the years 2016 to 2020. The guiding principles for this agreement have been the two reports by the Parliamentary Defence Commission “Choices in a globalised world” (2013) and the “The Defence of Sweden – a stronger defence for an uncertain time” (2014).

the Swedish Armed Forces, with other parts of the Swedish society, alongside political, diplomatic and economic means, constitutes a threshold against armed attack, or the use of military force to exert pressure on Sweden. A credible military capability to defend against armed aggression contributes to a peace and our political freedom.

Swedish Defence Policy for the years 2016 to 2020 must be based upon the declining security environment in Europe. In line with the Defence Commissions conclusions, Swedish defence policy requires a new focus. Thus, a renewed regional focus will be a priority, with the emphasis on national defence and planning for wartime scenarios.

Sweden's defense policy rests on a strong total defense embracing the entire population. Strategic planning is closely integrated with and supported by civil and economic defenseplans. The four legs of Swedish defense are: military, civil defense, economic defense, and psychological defense.

All military services have underground installations blasted out of rock. For example, at Musko Naval Base, Sweden has an underground installation the size of a fair sized town, tunnelled into the rocky coastline of an island, with workshops, office buildings, a hospital, restaurants, police, fire brigade, and docks to repair warships.

Scattered all across Sweden there are 5,000 depots for stockpiling Army equipment required during mobilization. Many civilian vehicles are pre-designated for wartime use. Mine fields were laid out in peacetime and ready for quick activation during mobilization. Many key roads and bridges are pre-chambered with explosives for destruction in the event of invasion.

As part of its psychological defense, the Swedish government conducts frequent public opinion polls to sample public attitudes toward defense issues. At least 80 percent of the population felt that Sweden should offer armed resistance in the event of an attack, even if the outcome is uncertain. About 85% of the population were of the opinion that all male Swedes should perform military service. Another aspect of its psychological defense is that Swedish telephone books have a section telling the population exactly what to do in case of attack and warning them not to pay attention to disinformation broadcasts such as those stating that "the mobilization has been cancelled." The success of the psychological defense program can be judged from the fact that over a million Swedes do volunteer work in activities supportive of the Armed Forces, such as Women's Auxiliaries, who serve in air and sea control centers as communications specialists; Transport Corps personnel, who volunteer to drive all kinds of vehicles, including heavy cross-country vehicles for the Armed Forces; the Red Cross; and many other organizations. Also, more than 250,000 Swedes belong to rifle and pistol shooting clubs.

With respect to civil defense, Sweden has shelters for more than five million people. More than three million gas masks are in storage. All citizens between the ages of 16 and 65 may be called up for civil defense duty. In a war, more than 200,000 Swedes would be part of the civil defense effort.

Economic defense is also an important part of Swedish defense readiness. Vast stockpiles have been created for thick fabrics to make blankets and warm clothing. Raw materials and semi-finished products are stored for the textile industry. Salt and coal are stored in covered piles andold mine shafts. Oil is stored in underground tunnels. About 20,000 companies are consideredessential to the war effort and are required to make emergency plans. So important is economic defense that two million people would be engaged in economic defense in some capacity during a war.

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Page last modified: 15-08-2017 16:20:06 ZULU