Commission calls for sweeping defence cuts

Commission calls for sweeping defence cuts
The government’s commission on defence has recommended drastic cuts to Sweden’s Armed Forces in a report submitted to the government on Friday.

The commission was unanimous in proposing that certain elements of Sweden’s anti-aircraft defences should be shut down, the number of tanks and heavy combat vehicles should be reduced, and that the number of combat aircraft “be reduced by a great degree”.

However, the politicians on the commission want to preserve and develop capacity in other areas.

Among other things, the competence and capacity to carry out missions with battle groups of between 1,000 and 5,000 soldiers should be further developed. That capacity has to a large extent disappeared, according to the commission.

The commission also wants to devote resources to helicopters and qualified medical care, as well as increased Nordic defence cooperation.

The future organization should consist of two parts: operational forces consisting of standing units and contract units, as well as a qualified home guard with national protection forces.

The operational forces will consist of volunteers. No conscripts will be included.

The standing units will, according to the defence commission’s proposal, be staffed principally by full time employed personnel.

The Liberal Party however, presented a somewhat divergent appraisal on Friday, based in large part on the party’s demand that Sweden join Nato.

“The belief that Nordic cooperation can bring about an independent security polity alternative lacks support in reality,” writes the party’s representative on the commission and Riksdag member Allan Widman.

“The Nordic countries cannot, by themselves, generate sufficient political and military weight.”

According to Widman, nor can Sweden play a central role in such cooperation without being a member of Nato.

Widman would also like Swedish-Nordic cooperation to include Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The countries’ geographic position and history make them more vulnerable to the insecurities which characterize Russia’s political development, said Widman.

That vulnerability also affects Sweden’s security, he believes.