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Reversal in defence policy reforms

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Reversal in defence policy reforms
07:37 CET+01:00
The government has decided against disbanding army units as a part of Sweden's ongoing defence policy reform process, electing instead to create a new ground combat reserve group.

The change would reestablish a Swedish military presence of the Baltic island of Gotland, as the country's most modern combat vehicles would be sent there.

Information about the new elements of the defence reforms comes from sources inside the government and military headquarters, and was confirmed by Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors fo the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

In the most recent defence policy proposal, Sweden's army was set for a major force reduction and the scrapping of millions of kronor in equipment purchases.

Ahead of the government's proposal on the future of Swedish defence policy, Armed Forces Supreme Commander Håkan Syrén had indicated he wished to continue in the direction of additional cutbacks.

But yesterday the government agreed to take an entirely new direction, according to SvD.

A new proposition to be put forward next week instead introduces a new term “mobile reserves”. The reserve unit would consist of two mobile army battalions currently on the chopping block.

Two additional battalions will be create from personnel, tanks, and combat vehicles which aren't currently organized into mobile battalions.

The four reserve battalions would, however, have lower mobilization requirements.

The proposition would mean a 50 percent increase in Sweden's ground combat units compared with the proposal put forward previously by the Supreme Commander.

In addition, 14 of Sweden's most modern tanks – the Leopard 2 – would be stationed on Gotland.

Until winding operations on the island in 2005, Sweden's military had long had a significant presence on Gotland.

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