Government opposes plan to scale down domestic defence
Published: 07 Mar 2010 10:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Mar 2010 10:13 GMT+01:00
The military would like to close at least one air force base, eliminate a troop regiment and halve training resources for home defence, according to a report public broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR).
“We have a certain over-capacity and can carry out our activities in fewer locations,” said General Lieutenant Jan Salestrand.
The plan was rejected on Saturday by Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors, reported SR.
“This is a proposal which, if coming from the Swedish Armed Forces, will be dealt with in a year and a half's time when a decision will then be made," said Tolgfors. “As things now stand, the Swedish Armed Forces achieved a multi-billion kronor surplus last year.”
The plan was further opposed by Education Minister Jan Björklund, who is also leader of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) that is part and parcel of the center-right coalition government.
“In view of developments in Russia, my belief is that we in Sweden, in our next decision about defence, should seek to strengthen it.”
The government has earlier been criticized for plans to close air force bases and regiments.
Compulsory conscription ends in July, to be replaced by a voluntary system that is not expected to require the same training resources.