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Defence chiefs condemned in internal report

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12:28 CEST+02:00
Swedish defence chiefs have been severely criticised by a working party they appointed themselves. The working party were asked to write a report which would form the basis of a strategic review which is to be submitted to the Minister for Defence on the 4th May.

DN have seen the report and say it describes unclear leadership, internal conflict, indecisiveness, and a lack of goals. In summary, the report states:

"The overall picture is of a defence force which as we stand in 2005 is a long way off the agreed objective of a practical, accessible and flexible defence force and which must undergo comprehensive change in order to achieve that objective."

The three principal problem areas are: leadership, procurement and recruitment.

The report says damningly that the armed forces have lacked a clear role ever since the end of the cold war.

"That has meant that there has been a high degree of uncertainty and ambiguity in the Armed Forces concerning the fundamental question of what military defence is for... The Armed Forces have been experiencing a form of 'identity crisis' for a significant time."

Due to the lack of strategic planning and leadership, special interests have been allowed to pursue their own agenda. Plans are drawn up and decisions made, but little energy is spent to make sure they are carried out properly.

The report accuses the armed forces and politicians of being unduly influenced by the defence industry in their procurement of weapons and other equipment. The perceived need to maintain a successful defence industry is costing the country money.

Major General Michael Moore, head of strategy and development at the Swedish military headquarters, told DN that he thought the report was slightly strongly worded, but that it was a fair account of the current state of affairs.

"The Armed Forces are facing their biggest change in a hundred years. The old threats are gone and the world has changed through information technology and globalisation. It's been a time of great upheaval and it's true that the military have lacked a clear role. But that is something we have now addressed. The Armed Forces are for armed combat and should be used to protect Sweden and its interests at home and overseas."

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, SR

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