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Article from Ministry of Defence

Swedish Defence Commission submits total defence report


On Tuesday, 19 December 2023, the Swedish Defence Commission submitted its report on the state and further development of the total defence, with a focus on the civilian defence, to Minister for Defence Pål Jonson and Minister for Civil Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin.

In the report, the Defence Commission states that it is time for action.

Sweden must shape its security policy and its defence based on the scope of the threat Russia will pose for a long time to come. An aggressive Russia, with both the ability and the will to wage a prolonged war, should form the main foundation for developing Sweden’s total defence.

The Swedish Defence Commission states that the civilian component of the total defence must rapidly increase its capability. A sense of urgency must permeate all parts of the Swedish society and the further development of Sweden’s total defence in the years to come.

The policies and regulations to build a stronger total defence capability are already partly in place. However, decision-makers – in both the public and private sectors – lack the understanding of what war planning consists of and what it entails. The importance of clear command structures and flexible leadership cannot be emphasised enough.

The basis of the total defence, and the civil defence, is ultimately made up by our population. Everyone has a role to play in the total defence. Ukraine has demonstrated the critical necessity of the population’s resilience and will to defend their nation.

The Swedish Defence Commission underlines that Sweden must be able to defend itself against an armed attack, as well as to contribute to the defence of NATO allies. A strong Swedish total defence will be a part of NATO’s deterrence. Sweden’s commitment – together with its Allies – to the collective defence is central to NATO’s deterrence and ultimately how peace is preserved in the Euro-Atlantic area.

To develop the Swedish total defence capability, the Swedish Defence Commission’s proposals in its report include the following:

  • a command chain with clear structures, roles and responsibilities within the civil defence. This includes a transformation of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency to become the Government’s resource for coordination of the civil defence;
  • an introduction of four new sectors within the Swedish system for preparedness;
  • a financial planning framework for civil defence; and
  • the re-establishment of a system for ensuring private sector war-time involvement.

The Swedish Defence Commission’s proposals regarding the military defence as well as the budget for the total defence (civilian and military) will be submitted in the Commission’s final report, planned to be submitted 26 April 2024.