Thousands lose jobs in armed forces

New cuts have been proposed to Sweden's defence forces which will leave 1,000-2,000 people out of work. Most of those affected by the cuts are civilian staff based in Stockholm.

The purpose of the cutbacks is to save 2.1 billion kronor in administrative costs – money which can then be invested in operations, as part of efforts to make Sweden’s armed forces more flexible and mobile.

“This section of the armed forces, unlike other sections, has not adapted,” said Peter Lagerblad, who has conducted a government inquiry into the defence forces, as he presented his proposals on the redistribution of the military’s budget to defence minister Leni Björklund in Tuesday.

Lagerblad had been charged by the government with finding two billion kronor in savings in the military’s administration following the defence review in 2004.

His conclusions were widely predicted – the military bureaucracy is too large and too ineffective. Lagerblad did not put it so undiplomatically, but his figures spoke for themselves.

“The section we’re talking about spends about seven billion kronor a year and has 6,200 employees. Cost in this section have increased by 24 percent. Prices in general have increased by eight percent in the same period,” said Lagerblad.

The largest part of the savings, says Lagerblad, will come from buying ready made equipment rather than developing purpose-made materiel within the armed forces. This will save 900 million kronor, Lagerblad thinks.

Lagerblad also suggests that industry should take over more service and maintenance that the forces currently carry out in-house.

Is Sweden defenceless? Discuss!

TT/The Local