Military Wiki
Swedish Armed Forces
Coat of Arms of the Swedish Armed Forces
Coat of Arms of the Swedish Armed Forces
Current form 1975
Service branches Coat of Arms of the Swedish Army Swedish Army
Coat of Arms of the Swedish Air Force Swedish Air Force
Coat of Arms of the Swedish Navy Swedish Navy
Headquarters Stockholm
Supreme Commander General Sverker Göranson
Minister for Defence Karin Enström
Director General Peter Sandwall
Military age 16-70 years old[1]
Conscription No
Available for
military service
2,065,782 males, age 18-47 (2010 est.),
1,995,451 females, age 18-47 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
1,709,592 males, age 18-47 (2010 est.),
1,649,875 females, age 18-47 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
58,937 males (2010 est.),
56,225 females (2010 est.)
Active personnel 14,000 in 2011 [2]
Reserve personnel 10,600 reserves and 15,300 home guards in 2011 [2]
Budget SEK 45.578 billion (USD ~6.46 billion) (2012)[3]
Percent of GDP 1.35% (2009)[4]
Related articles
History Military history of Sweden
Ranks Military ranks of the Swedish Armed Forces

The Swedish Armed Forces (Swedish language: Försvarsmakten ) is a Swedish Government Agency responsible for the maintenance and operation of the armed forces of Sweden. The primary task of the Swedish Armed Forces is to train, organize and deploy military forces, domestically and abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to defend the country in the event of war. The Armed Forces consists of three service branches; the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. Since 1994 the three branches are organized in one unified Government Agency. However, they maintain their separate identities through the use of different uniforms, ranks, and other service specific traditions.

The Supreme Commander is a four-star general or flag officer that is the agency head of the Swedish Armed Forces, and is the highest ranking professional officer on active duty. The Supreme Commander in turn reports, normally through the Minister for Defence, directly to the Government of Sweden, which in turn answers to the Parliament of Sweden. The King of Sweden was, before the enactment of the 1974 Instrument of Government, the de jure commander in chief, but currently only has a ceremonial role in the Armed Forces as the head of state. Sweden's military forces were for over a century built upon the concepts of conscription and territorial defence, supporting the longstanding national policy of non-alignment. Until the end of the Cold War nearly all men reaching the age of military service were conscripted. In the summer of 2010, peacetime conscription was abolished, to be replaced with an all-volunteer army. The transfer to the new system is planned to be fully completed in 2018.

Units from the Swedish Armed Forces are currently on deployment in Afghanistan (as part of ISAF) and in Kosovo. Moreover, Sweden contributes military observers to various countries and serve as the lead nation for an EU Battle Group approximately once every three years.


The Swedish Armed Forces have four main tasks:[5]

  1. To assert the territorial integrity of Sweden.
  2. To defend the country if attacked by a foreign nation.
  3. To support the civil community in case of disasters (e.g. flooding).
  4. To deploy forces to international peace support operations.

Sweden aims to have the option of remaining neutral in case of proximate war.[6] However, Sweden cooperates militarily with a number of foreign countries. As a member of the European Union, Sweden is acting as the lead nation for EU Battlegroups[7] and also has a close cooperation, including joint exercises, with NATO through its membership in Partnership for Peace and Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.[8] In 2008 a partnership was initiated between the Nordic countries to, among other things, increase the capability of joint action, and this led to the creation of NORDEFCO.[9][10] As a response to the expanded military cooperation the defence proposition of 2009 stated that Sweden will not remain passive if a Nordic country or a member of the European Union were attacked.[11]

Recent political decisions have strongly emphasized the capability to participate in international operations, to the point where this has become the main short-term goal of training and equipment acquisition.[12][13][14] However, after the 2008 South Ossetia war territorial defense was once again emphasized. Until then most units could not be mobilized within one year. In 2009 the Minister for Defence stated that in the future all of the armed forces must capable of fully mobilizing within one week.[15] In 2013, after incursions into Swedish airspace by Russian combat aircraft were widely reported, only six percent of Swedes expressed confidence in the ability of the nation to defend itself.[16]


From national service to an all-volunteer force

Chart showing the size of the Swedish Armed Forces 1965-2010. Yellow = number of air wings; Blue = number of infantry regiments; Red = number of artillery regiments; Green = number of coastal artillery and amphibious regiments.

In mid-1995, with the national service system based on universal military training, the Swedish Army consisted of 15 maneuver brigades and, in addition, 100 battalions of various sorts (artillery, engineers, rangers, air defense, amphibious, security, surveillance etc.) with a mobilization-time of between one and two days. When national service was replaced by a selective service system, fewer and fewer young men where drafted due to the reduction in size of the armed forces. By 2010 the Swedish Army had two battalions that could be mobilized within 90 days. When the volunteer system has been fully implemented by 2019, the army will consists of 7 maneuver battalions and 14 battalions of various sorts with a readiness of one week. The Home Guard will be reduced in size to 22 000 soldiers.[17]

National Service Force 1995 Selective Service Force 2010 All-Volunteer Force 2019
Maneuver units 15 brigades 2 battalions 7 battalions
Auxiliary units 100 battalions 4 companies 14 battalions
Readiness 1 to 2 days 90 days 7 days

Personnel structure

Military personnel of the Swedish Armed Forces consists of:

  • Officer OFF/K - Regular continuously serving officers (OF1-OF9).
  • Officer OFF/T - Reserve part-time officers (OF1-OF3).
  • Specialistofficer SO/K - Regular continuously serving NCO (OR6-OR9).
  • Specialistofficer SO/T - Reserve part-time serving NCO (OR6-OR7).
  • GSS/K - Regular continuously serving enlisted (OR1-OR5).
  • GSS/T - Reserve part-time serving enlisted (OR1-OR5).

K = Continuously, T = Part-time

Planned size of the Swedish Armed Forces 2011-2020

Category Continuously serving Part-time serving Contracted
OFF 3,900 OFF/K 2,500 OFF/T -
SO 4,900 SO/K included in the above SO/T -
GSS 6,600 GSS/K 9,500 GSS/T -
Swedish Home Guard - - 22,000

Annual recruitment of GSS is assumed to be about 4,000 persons.


Criticism and research

In 2008, professor Mats Alvesson of the University of Lund and Karl Ydén of the University of Göteborg claimed in an op-ed, based on Ydén's doctoral dissertation, that a large part of the officer corps of the Swedish Armed Forces was preoccupied with administrative tasks instead of training soldiers or partaking in international operations. They claimed that Swedish officers were mainly focused on climbing the ranks and thereby increasing their wages and that the main way of doing this is to take more training courses, which decreases the number of officer that are specialized in their field. Therefore, the authors claimed, the Swedish Armed Forces were poorly prepared for its mission.[19]

Major changes have been made to the officer system since then.


See: Military ranks of the Swedish armed forces


The Swedish multirole fighter, the Saab JAS 39 Gripen.

The Infantry fighting vehicle Strf 90 produced and used by Sweden.

NH90 of the Swedish Armed Forces

The Swedish Visby class corvette.

Armed Forces Headquarters

The Armed Forces Headquarters is the highest level of command in the Swedish Armed Forces.[20] It is led by the Supreme Commander with a civilian Director General as his deputy, with functional directorates having different responsibilities (e.g. the Military Intelligence and Security Service). Overall, the Armed Forces Headquarters have about 1000 employees, including civilian personnel.[21][22]



Some of the schools listed below answer to other units, listed under the various branches of the Armed Forces.

  • Artillery Combat School (ArtSS) located in Boden
  • Armed Forces Technical School (FMTS) located in Halmstad
  • Air Force Uppsala Schools (LSS) located in Uppsala
  • National Defence College (FHS) located in Stockholm
  • Field Work School (FarbS) located in Eksjö
  • Air Force Air Officer School (FBS) located in Uppsala
  • Parachute Ranger School (Fallskärmsjägarskolan - FJS) located in Karlsborg
  • Flight School (FlygS) located in Linköping/Malmen
  • Helicopter Combat School (HkpSS) located in Linköping/Malmen
  • Home Guard Combat School (HvSS) located in Södertälje
  • Command School (LedS) located in Enköping
  • Anti-Aircraft Combat School (LvSS) located in Halmstad
  • Military Academy Halmstad (MHS H) located in Halmstad
  • Military Academy Karlberg (MHS K) located in Stockholm/Karlberg
  • Land Warfare Centre (MSS) located in Skövde also a detachment in Kvarn[23]
  • Naval Warfare School (SSS) located in Karlskrona and Stockholm/Berga


  • Armed Forces Centre for Defence Medicine (FömedC) located in Gothenburg, with a section in Linköping
  • Armed Forces Logistics (FMLOG) located in Stockholm, Boden, Karlskrona and Arboga
  • Armed Forces Intelligence and Security Centre (FMUndSäkC) located in Uppsala
  • Armed Forces Musical Centre (FöMusC) located in Stockholm/Kungsängen
  • Recruitment Centre (RekryC) located in Stockholm
  • National CBRN Defense Centre (SkyddC) located in Umeå
  • Swedish EOD and Demining Centre (SWEDEC) located in Eksjö
  • Swedish Armed Forces International Center (Swedint) located in Stockholm/Kungsängen

Military units

Deployed units and units ready for or mobilization

The table describes what units Sweden currently has deployed abroad and what units may be mobilized within one year. Ready-within-one-year means that there is equipment but no currently contracted personnel. Mobilizing units outside of the R10-R90 readiness range will entail placing units on a wartime footing, wherein officers would have to leave their current assignments in order to command their units.

Nordic Battle Group

The Nordic Battle Group is a temporary formation of the Swedish Armed Forces, tasked as one of the EU Battle Groups. Sweden was lead nation for a Battle Group during the first half of 2011.

International deployment

Currently, Sweden has deployed military forces in Afghanistan with the International Security Assistance Force and in Kosovo as a part of the multinational Kosovo Force as well as a naval force deployed to the gulf of Aden as a part of Operation Atalanta. Military observers from Sweden have been sent to a large number of countries, including Georgia, North Korea, Lebanon, Israel and Sri Lanka and Sweden also participates with staff officers to missions in Sudan and Chad

Other government agencies reporting to the Ministry of Defence

Voluntary defence organizations

  • Swedish Home Guard (Hemvärnet)
  • Lottorna (Swedish Women's Voluntary Defence Service)

See also


  1. SFS 2010:448. Lag (1994:1809) om totalförsvarsplikt. Stockholm: Department of Justice. "Lag (1994:1809) om totalförsvarsplikt". Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Försvarsmaktens budgetunderlag för 2011"Försvarsmaktens budgetunderlag för 2011". Högkvarteret. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 12/11/2012. 
  4. Based on: International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook Database, October 2010. "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2010". Retrieved 2010-11-13.  Currency conversion was based on the exchange rate of 2010-11-13.
  5. Försvarets fyra huvuduppgifter (In Swedish)
  6. "Sverige är militärt alliansfritt. Denna säkerhetspolitiska linje, med möjlighet till neutralitet vid konflikter i vårt närområde, har tjänat oss väl." Sveriges säkerhetspolitik (In Swedish)
  7. "Nordic Battlegroup - Försvarsmakten". 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2009-08-05. [dead link]
  8. Sverige och NATO (In Swedish)
  9. "Nordic defence cooperation - Försvarsmakten". 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  10. "Background to cooperation - Försvarsmakten". 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  11. Ett användbart försvar, last paragraph (In Swedish)
  12. Försvarsreformen (In Swedish)
  13. "Our task - Försvarsmakten". 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  14. "The Swedish military service system - Försvarsmakten". 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  15. Ett användbart försvar
  16. Benitez, Jorge (30 April 2013). "Most Swedes doubt Sweden can defend itself". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  17. Ivarsson, Ulf (February 2007). "Pendeln måste slå tillbaka". pp. 5. 
  18. Ulf Jonsson & Peter Nordlund, Frivilliga soldater istället för plikt 8FOI 2010 12/11/2012
  19. "Karriärstyrda officerare skapar inkompetent försvar" (in sv). 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  20. "Armed Forces Headquarters (HKV) - Försvarsmakten". 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  21. (Swedish) [1]
  22. (Swedish) [2]

Manpower-numbers are taken from CIA - The World Factbook

External links

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