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Sweden: Plan to Reform Military

(Mar. 25, 2009) On March 19, 2009, Swedish Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors introduced a bill that would institute the largest reform of Sweden's military in several decades. “This will be a major strengthening of Sweden's defense capabilities,” he stated. (Sweden Sets Sights on Military Reforms, THE LOCAL, Mar. 19, 2009, available at

The plan is to develop a force with smaller, more flexible units that will be able to cooperate. The force will be based on voluntary service, rather than conscription. The current structure of the military, which separates units designed for overseas service from other units, will remain in place for at least the next five years, but eventually the distinction will be eliminated. The plan envisions being able to deploy up to 50,000 troops on a week's notice. (Id.)

The plan outlined by Tolgfors involves increasing the number of mobile battalions; giving a greater role to the Swedish National Home Guard; and procuring more fighter planes, helicopters, and armored vehicles. Before it can be adopted, the government will have to work out some differences over spending levels with opposition groups that would like to cut the military budget. (Id.)