Sweden long ago proclaimed its military and political neutrality, but this position does not exclude the need for the construction and development of the armed forces. In recent years, Stockholm has taken some measures to restore and build up military power in order to maintain the desired combat effectiveness. To implement such plans, an increase in the military budget has taken place in recent years, and similar measures will be taken in the foreseeable future.
The other day, Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist once again raised the topic of risks, challenges and military spending to answer them. The head of the military department explained why the budget for next year again provides for an increase in army spending.
The Minister indicated that such measures are directly related to the actions of Russia. The security situation is changing. Everyone saw what happened in Georgia, the Crimea and Ukraine. In addition, Russia is modernizing its armed forces and strengthening its presence in the Baltic region. As a result, Sweden is at the forefront and may face well-known risks.
However, P. Hultqvist does not believe that Russia is a direct threat to Sweden. However, the capabilities of the Russian army are well known - and this must be taken into account when drawing up your plans.
Thus, the characteristic features of the current situation in Europe are forcing Stockholm to develop and supplement its plans for the development of the armed forces. Additional expenses are required, due to which it will be possible to ensure reorganization and rearmament, as well as to increase the combat effectiveness of the troops.
History The Swedish army in recent decades is characteristic of European countries. Sweden previously had a sufficiently powerful armed forces, but then they began to save on it with a known result. So, according to SIPRI, in 1990 - shortly before a radical change in the situation in the region - Sweden's military spending was equivalent to 2,4% of GDP. In the past 2018, about 54 billion SEK (approx. 5,8 billion US dollars) was spent on defense - only 1% of GDP. A few years earlier, military spending was even lower, both in absolute and relative terms.
The sharp reduction in the military budget in the nineties led to a restructuring of the army structure in the direction of reducing the units and military personnel, as well as reducing the number of equipment. The number of military equipment fell by tens of percent, and the number of military units and units - at times. Nevertheless, until recently it was believed that such a reduction would not have negative security consequences, although it would free up money for other areas.
Currently serving in the Swedish armed forces approx. 30 thousand people. Another 20-22 thousand are in voluntary organizations that can help the army. In service there are several hundred armored vehicles, about 100 combat aircraft, dozens of ships, etc.
It is believed that the size and capabilities of the armed forces are no longer sufficient, even taking into account the size of the country. In particular, several years ago, calculations were made a lot of noise, according to which Sweden would not be able to protect itself from attack - the defense would last only a few days.
A few years ago, the Ministry of Defense of Sweden began to take measures to restore and increase the combat effectiveness of the army. The first measure of this kind was requests for an increase in the defense budget. Despite controversy and criticism, such requests were generally satisfied. Over the current decade, military spending increased by almost 18%, which allowed the launch of several rearmament and restructuring programs.
In September this year details of the new plans of the Ministry of Defense and the government of Sweden became known. The draft budget for the fiscal year 2020 proposed increasing defense spending by 5 billion kroons (approx. 530 million dollars) - by almost 10%. As follows from the latter News, such a project went through parliament and accepted for execution. Thus, in the new 2020, the Swedish army will have to master a little less than 60 billion crowns.
Subsequent spending is also discussed. According to preliminary plans, which have not yet been drawn up even as a bill, in 2021 the military budget will again be increased by several billion crowns. So far, such growth is planned for 2021-25. In the long run, an increase in spending is again expected - so far in this context, 2030 is mentioned as the planning horizon.
In recent years, in state budgets, military spending has gradually reached the line of 1% of GDP. In the near future it is planned to gain a foothold at this level and then slightly increase them. At the same time, no one is going to reach the level of 2-2,5 percent. GDP in the distant past. The Swedish military and political leadership believes that the defense budget is at the level of 1-1,5 percent. sufficient to solve existing problems.
The increase in defense spending naturally causes criticism. Funds for this do not appear out of nowhere, and for this it was necessary to introduce a new tax for the banking system. The result is a curious situation. No one argues with the very need for the development of the army, but many are unhappy with the price of this process and the methods of obtaining money for it.
It is planned to use the increased defense budget for the formation and restoration of units and subunits, for the construction or modernization of facilities, as well as for the purchase of material parts. At the same time, a significant part of military spending will continue to be spent on current needs.
Exact plans of this kind have not yet been announced, but official statements already mention the need to restore a number of military units and units that were previously reduced. It is also planned to return to the full service of a number of military facilities. For example, work is already underway at the underground base fleet Muskyo - by 2021-22. the top leadership of the naval forces will finally move there.
In the foreseeable future, purchases of new military equipment are envisaged. So, in the period from 2018 to 2027, the delivery of 70 JAS 39E / F Gripen fighters for the air force is expected. New ships and submarines are being built. Air defense assets are acquired. There are plans for the further development of the ground forces equipment fleet. Judging by the available data, such orders and contracts became possible solely due to the budget growth observed in recent years.
However, in the next decade it will be possible to satisfy far from all the needs of the army. A few days ago, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, General Per Bouden, announced the results of a new analysis of the army and its prospects. It turned out that to carry out all the necessary transformations and purchases by 2030, more funds are needed than it is planned to allocate. In excess of the required about 40 billion crowns.
In recent years, Sweden has significantly increased its military spending - from 2015 to 2020. An additional 33 billion kroons ($ 3,5 billion) was spent on defense, which made it possible to carry out several important programs and lay the foundation for further army modernization. In the near future, a new budget increase is planned with the same goals. However, even such an increase in military spending does not seem to allow covering all the needs of the army.
The prerequisites for such a situation are obvious. For many years, Sweden saved on defense, which allowed freeing up money for other areas, but gradually led to a reduction in defense capability. Over time, the situation in the armed forces has worsened and requires a corresponding reaction in the form of additional costs. Some of the needs were covered by new taxes, but the situation as a whole leaves cause for concern.
The Ministry of Defense of Sweden directly calls Russia as a reason for increasing military spending. Indeed, our country is strengthening the grouping of troops in the Baltic area, and neighboring states see this as a threat. However, far from Russian actions are the actual reason for the decline in their defenses. Not Moscow, but Stockholm for a long time saved on the army, which led to well-known consequences. The “Russian threat” in this case is just an argument in disputes over funding.