Military Review

Conscripts and contract soldiers: features of the manning system of the Swedish armed forces


The armed forces of Sweden are not the largest even within their region, but in terms of combat effectiveness they are one of the most powerful and developed in Europe. Similar results are achieved by different methods, one of which is a competent approach to recruiting and training personnel.

General features

According to the current defense doctrine, one of the foundations of Sweden's national security is the training of highly professional personnel who are capable and ready to solve all assigned tasks in peacetime and wartime. With this in mind, in recent years, a mixed system of manning the armed forces has been created, combining conscription and contract service.

Compulsory military service was introduced in Sweden in 1901 and continued until 2010. In the XNUMXs, the military department came to the conclusion that it was necessary to abandon the draft and completely switch to the contract. The reasons for this decision were standard: the complexity of modern weapons and equipment, the inability to quickly train a good specialist, the lack of significant savings, etc.

Earlier, in 2000, the need to call girls was substantiated in a similar way. Then it was argued that modern weapons and equipment are less demanding on the physical condition of a soldier, and intelligence, perseverance and other qualities are gaining increased importance.

Just a few years after the withdrawal from the draft, Sweden faced new challenges. It turned out that the contract recruitment does not fully cover all the needs of the army in personnel. In addition, an urgent response was required to the latest changes in the military-political situation. Consequently, in March 2017, the Swedish army resumed conscription. This mixed picking principle continues to this day and is believed to be in use for the foreseeable future.

At present, the total number of personnel of the Swedish armed forces exceeds 51 thousand people. Of these, more than 21 thousand people. are in the territorial defense of "Hemvern" and are actually a reserve. Every year they call for approx. 4 thousand people, which allows the training of future soldiers and their rotation at the required pace.

However, the size of the army does not meet the plans of the command. According to the current strategy, it should be 60 thousand people. However, as of the end of 2020, more than 6 thousand posts remained vacant. Moreover, for 2021-25. a gradual increase in the armed forces up to 90 thousand people is planned. To fulfill such plans, it is proposed to increase the draft and eventually double it, to 8 thousand people. annually.

Military duty

According to Swedish law, after recent amendments, citizens between the ages of 16 and 70, males and females, are liable for military service. The draft age for men is between 18 and 47 years old. For women, the upper bar has been lowered to 23 (in the Air Force) or 25 in all other structures. At the same time, the real age of servicemen is below the maximum permissible values. So, most of the officers and generals with long experience retire at 55-60 years old.

The Armed Forces Recruitment Service is responsible for the selection of personnel. She maintains lists of persons liable for military service, carries out their planned conscription and accepts applications from volunteers going on military or contract service. All persons liable for military service pass through the Service, and it makes a decision on their admission or release from service. Responsibility is provided for draft evasion.

The future conscript or contract soldier undergoes a medical and psychological examination, during which his physical and mental health, physical condition, intellectual abilities, etc. are determined. Also, the existence of valid reasons for postponement or release from service is considered on an individual basis. In particular, in the presence of serious illnesses, they are released from service, and training gives the right to a postponement.

For safety reasons, attention is paid to the social aspects. So, people with radical views, negative psychological characteristics, etc. are not taken into the army. Convicted persons are also not called up.

After passing the commissions, the recruit can choose between urgent and contract service, in accordance with his plans and wishes. An alternative service is also envisaged: by decision of a special commission, a conscript is sent for 12 months to one of the civilian structures related to defense.

Training Issues

The recruitment service distributes recruits between different types of troops, taking into account their wishes, health and other factors. The service life of the conscript depends on this appointment. It is determined by training programs and ranges from 4 to 12 months.

Immediately after being recruited, the recruit is sent to a training unit as part of a regiment or training center. The course of a young soldier in all types of troops takes 3 months. After that, the soldier is transferred to a combat unit and begins a full-fledged service, during which he masters his specialty. The overall service life depends on the complexity and duration of this process.

The fastest are the Hemvern Territorial Defense fighters. The training of a soldier takes 1 month, a junior commander - 4 months. In the ground forces, the process of training a fighter is extended for 9 months. NCOs and non-commissioned officers study for 11-15 months, and they are mainly contract soldiers with a corresponding service life. A similar training procedure takes place in navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Force.

Two types of contracts

A conscript or volunteer can choose contract service. In 2010, after the cancellation of the draft, two types of contracts were introduced with different features, capabilities and benefits. Such a system has shown itself well and has been preserved to this day without any changes.

The main one is the so-called. a permanent contract that creates the core of the army. It is concluded for 8 years with the possibility of extension to 12. In accordance with such a contract, the soldier remains in constant readiness and, in fact, continues his regular service. Regular participation in various training activities is envisaged. Also, a contractor can be involved in a foreign operation, but no more than three times during the entire term of the contract.

A permanent contract provides an opportunity and a margin of time for completing various courses and training programs. According to their results, a soldier can count on the next military ranks and positions.

There is also a “part-time contract”, concluded for 8 years with an extension to 16. In this case, the contractor returns to normal life, but at the beginning of the conflict may be called up to serve in Hemvern or in another structure of the armed forces. Annual fees are also provided. A contract soldier can be sent abroad no more than twice.

According to open data, last year the Swedish armed forces had approx. 14,6 thousand servicemen on a permanent contract. Of these, 9,1 thousand were officers, the remaining 5,5 thousand were privates, sergeants and non-commissioned officers. Under an incomplete contract, he served approx. 32,4 thousand people At the same time, 20,7 thousand were listed for territorial defense. 6,7 thousand of such contract soldiers are army officers, 5,5 thousand are privates, sergeants and non-commissioned officers.

Problems and solutions

In a short period of time, the manning system of the Swedish armed forces has undergone two major changes. In 2010, in order to get rid of typical problems and gain new opportunities, the conscription was canceled and the service was introduced only on a contract basis. Already in 2017, the draft was returned, but now, in addition to contract service, again to solve urgent problems.

The combined picking system has been in operation for several years and has partially coped with the tasks set. With its help, it was possible to increase the number of combat units and increase their combat effectiveness. Also, the reforms had a positive effect on the size and level of preparation of territorial defense and reserves.

However, not everything planned has been done, and the Ministry of Defense needs to solve several significant problems. First of all, it is the lack of personnel. The draft was returned more than four years ago, but the total size of the army still does not reach the required figures. Moreover, a major new expansion is planned, which will require approx. 30 thousand people. Whether it will be possible to recruit them in the coming years is unknown.

For more than 20 years, women have been recruited into the Swedish army, but the results are still far from desired. Women make up only 10-11%. personnel in service and in reserve. The command wants to gradually double this figure, although these undertakings do not find understanding among the population. In addition, women are deterred by the spread of sexism and harassment - despite all the statements and attempts to combat them.

However, the processes of education and training in general are proceeding normally and in accordance with the current norms, which makes it possible to obtain the required combat capability. They are trying to fight unhealthy phenomena and conflicts, and their number is gradually decreasing. Apparently, the serious approach to the selection of personnel at the level of the Recruitment Service affects.

Thus, the existing combined approach to the recruitment of personnel in the Swedish army shows mixed results. With his help, it was almost completely possible to solve the issues of quantity and partly quality. At the same time, there are still specific problems that do not yet allow the army to obtain the desired appearance. However, the command takes into account the emerging challenges and tries to respond to them in a timely manner. How successful his actions and measures will be - time will tell.
Photos used:
Swedish Ministry of Defense

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  1. 75 Sergey
    75 Sergey 23 September 2021 18: 49
    I still don't understand how long the urgent service lasts?
    Well, at the expense of the strongest army, it certainly got excited, the Ukrainian one seems to be the very, very ... joke.
    Since Sweden does not have enough people, then God himself ordered Russia to leave military service ... and of course, one year will not be enough.
    1. Lisa90
      Lisa90 23 September 2021 22: 31
      A fighter can be taught in a year. You just need to constantly conduct classes. In the Presidential Regiment, for 96 years, they plowed from dawn to dusk.
      1. 75 Sergey
        75 Sergey 23 September 2021 22: 35
        And what is this "Presidential Regiment"?
        And what can you teach a soldier in a year - to dig a trench, physical training?
        And to figure out the technique, methods of application, platoon command, tactics, practice, but a lot of things ... how?
        In the 50s, when everything was simpler, they served for three years.
        1. Ryazan87
          Ryazan87 24 September 2021 00: 43
          And what is this "Presidential Regiment"?

          Red Banner Order of the October Revolution Presidential Regiment of the Commandant Service of the Moscow Kremlin of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.
          And what can you teach a soldier in a year - to dig a trench, physical training?
          And to figure out the technique, methods of application, platoon command, tactics, practice, but a lot of things ... how?

          If this is a year of intense combat training - a lot. If you beat off the edges and take up household work, then it is not enough.
          So in a year you can prepare a decent shooter and a good driver.
          In the 50s, when everything was simpler, they served for three years.

          And under Alexander I, when it was even easier, they served 25. And?
      2. Cormoran
        Cormoran 24 September 2021 01: 55
        It is possible for less. And the division?
  2. Ros 56
    Ros 56 23 September 2021 18: 56
    And in what war did these same
    in terms of combat effectiveness
    1. Ingvar 72
      Ingvar 72 23 September 2021 20: 00
      Quote: Ros 56
      And in what war did these same

      The Finns, too, did not seem to be glorified anywhere at the time of the start of the Finnish war. And the victory was given to us, oh, how hard it was.
      This I mean that you should not underestimate the enemy. hi
      1. Grizli-666
        Grizli-666 23 September 2021 20: 40
        The Finns were generally part of the Russian Empire and all of its senior officers fought at least in the First World War. And in the army there were many old-timers who passed on experience to younger soldiers.
        1. Ingvar 72
          Ingvar 72 23 September 2021 21: 23
          Quote: Grizli-666
          The Finns were actually part of the Russian Empire and all of its senior officers fought at least in the First World War.

          The Red Army had a "slightly" more military experience, don't you think? wink The same World War I, Civil, Spain.
          1. faiver
            faiver 24 September 2021 00: 17
            World War I, Civil, Spain.
            - and which of these wars was fought in the polar latitudes in winter?
          2. Ryazan87
            Ryazan87 24 September 2021 00: 56
            Senior officers of the Finnish army had the experience of both the First World War and their own Civil War, some of them managed to fight against the Red Army in 1919-20.
        2. Ryazan87
          Ryazan87 24 September 2021 00: 53
          The senior officers were rather trained in the Kaiser's army - the 27th Royal Prussian Jaeger Battalion gave almost 90% of the Finnish generals. There Siilasvuo, Talvela, and Esterman served and had the experience of fighting against the Russian troops, then also the experience of their civil war.
      2. Barberry25
        Barberry25 23 September 2021 22: 09
        because the original plan was not fulfilled, and then when everything was done according to it and the defense of the Finns fell
      3. Ros 56
        Ros 56 24 September 2021 07: 36
        Forget the concepts of the war of the last century, now no one will go into the attack with a rifle at the ready. To begin with, they will smear the military infrastructure if there is nothing to defend with and hello. And there it will continue as a suit, depending on the situation and circumstances, or even they can repeat it.
        As for underestimating, this is not for me, this is for the General Staff. And here we are only throwing ourselves in letters, and then some of them ruin, as if they really are at war. hi
  3. tralflot1832
    tralflot1832 23 September 2021 18: 57
    I have only one question: Swedish officers are studying the consequences of the defeat at Poltava. And who will remind you of the names of the Swedish Prime Ministers during the reign of the ABBA group. I remember Olof Palme, he is in paradise!
  4. Cat Alexandrovich
    Cat Alexandrovich 23 September 2021 19: 03
    Do they recruit migrants? There aren't enough warriors out there!
  5. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 23 September 2021 19: 37
    And in fact, when in general did Sweden last fight? Is it really near Poltava, 300 years ago? What kind of "requirements for modern combat" can we talk about?
    1. Ryazan87
      Ryazan87 24 September 2021 01: 04
      Sweden's last official involvement in the war was in 1814.
      But they have an army for themselves, the weapons are adequate and often their own (the same "Gripenes" are very good light fighters of the 4th generation).
      1. Kot_Kuzya
        Kot_Kuzya 24 September 2021 03: 37
        Many people do not understand that Sweden is actually an island country, on land it borders only with Norway and Finland, and even then with Finland purely nominally, since the border passes beyond the Arctic Circle, where there is a sparse population and few roads that are easy to block. Thus, Sweden does not particularly need a large army, it is much more important from a strategic point of view, aviation and navy, in order to prevent the landing of enemy troops from the sea.
      2. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 24 September 2021 08: 06
        Gripenes are very good, the industry is also up to par. But there is no personnel trained to fight. Look, even the Chinese are complex about the fact that their last war was in 1979, when they fought with Vietnam, now they have several generations in the army, so they will gain combat experience from scratch. However, their most likely enemy Taiwan has not fought since the 50s. In this regard, our army, which has experience in the two Chechen wars and the war on 08.08.08, looks good.
    2. Cormoran
      Cormoran 24 September 2021 01: 57
      In 1810. That's the whole point. Although the officers are cutting them.
  6. Eug
    Eug 23 September 2021 20: 45
    I don’t know about the Swedish one, but in the SA, as for me, there was a very reasonable and flexible equipment system that adequately took into account the nuances of the army service.
    1. motorized rifle
      motorized rifle 23 September 2021 23: 30
      I don’t know what you mean by "very reasonable and flexible equipment", but my personal experience speaks of the exact opposite. For the whole CA I will not say, but here in my company:
      My commander of a motorized rifle department, graduated from a veterinary technical school in Anzhero-Sudzhensk, but the company’s medical instructor was a former worker of the Tyumen Battery Plant, who completed his entire training course. In my department, the machine gunner had the specialty "helmsman-minder", and the deputy commander of the machine-gun platoon generally had the diploma of "captain-mechanic of the river fleet". The sniper of our platoon in front of the army, graduated in Kiev, DOSAAF courses about the specialty "operator of a radar installation." Or maybe I'm not talking about that?
      Shl. Years of service 1981-1983 Novosibirsk. KSibVO.
  7. Doccor18
    Doccor18 23 September 2021 20: 57
    According to the current strategy, it should be 60 thousand people ... At the same time, for 2021-25. a gradual increase in the armed forces up to 90 thousand people is planned ...

    All armies are "shrinking", and the Swedish still wants to increase ...
    In addition, an urgent response was required to the latest changes in the military-political situation.

    Which changes? Norway and Finland "escalate", or Denmark "threatens" wassat
    1. Barberry25
      Barberry25 23 September 2021 22: 10
      so angry Russians are nearby) they even want to create a reserve of 250
  8. faiver
    faiver 24 September 2021 00: 14
    however, in terms of combat effectiveness, they are one of the most powerful and developed in Europe
    - yeah, one of the most non-belligerent countries in Europe, neutral ...
  9. Velya
    Velya 24 September 2021 10: 38
    Here is a conversation on a well-known channel with a man who served in the Swedish army.
  10. Strannik_GO
    Strannik_GO 24 September 2021 12: 09
    - "And this is how to approach the formation of the army!

    It is not a lifting task to paint the structure of the aircraft - it will take a lot of time ...
    I'll try from the position of a common man in the street
    I was born in a country where the borders and internal territory are controlled by units of the National Russian Guard. border unit, or in the Russian Armed Forces. I chose the Armed Forces of Russia - why, although a contract for 18 years is being signed there, but despite the fact that I will live in all these years constantly in the barracks (with full support), I like that after these 15 years I will get modern housing in the region where I was born or a certificate for the purchase of housing where I am going to settle in the future (in Ros Guard they do not receive housing at the expense of society - they only buy for money), I will have a certain amount by the end of the contract (the amount will not only consist of salary, it is quite possible that I will receive combat), even after the end of the contract (by this time I will be 15 years old) they will offer the choice to continue the service; either in junior command positions at the place of contract service or RosGvard or the Ministry of Emergency Situations (with training at the expense of the state, these units are not taken from the outside, only after serving in the ranks of the Russian Armed Forces), but my colleague graduated from compulsory service in the Russian Guard the institute (with him we served under a contract) received an offer to continue training at the academy and continue serving in the Russian Armed Forces under a new officer's contract. I wander around to the fact that I will accept the offer, and I will serve in the Ministry of Emergency Situations, all the same, I'm already tired of when the night is raised by alarm and in the morning you can either freeze at minus 34 or languish from the heat at plus 50, but that's why we are the troops of the fast deployment to fulfill the tasks set by the state to protect the interests of Russia around the globe. 50-10 years before retirement, (by length of service) I will start a family, get an apartment in the city for a certificate, or maybe by monetizing the certificate I will build a house in nature, in the village, and with the accumulated funds plus a military pension I will organize my small business - after all by that time I'm 15 years old, I'm at my most productive age, and my life has developed ...
    Something like that!
    I will briefly explain: 1. Service in Rosgvardia is a duty to society - otherwise they will not be accepted into public (state) structures, this applies not only to the male population, but to the female population. In fact, the RG is a structure with the functions of the former DOSAAF.
    2. the actual, only, opportunity for young people from the provinces to use the "social lift" to build a career.
    3. The Ministry of Emergency Situations, Police, Forestry, and other similar services are formed only from those who have served in the Armed Forces.
    4. Good scalability of the contract aircraft, since the training of employees (over 15 years) is carried out according to the "mid-level commander" program. Expensive? - but we remember that at the end of the contract, employees enter the civil service (see point 3), and they are already trained.
    5.How are selected "Tsar people" has already been answered. (See above) - and when, after the end of the main contract, these people come and take a significant place in the ROSGVARDIA, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergencies, - excellent training and selection of recruits in the ROSGvardia, trained and most importantly able people in the Ministry of Emergencies, passed a good school of life, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with authority ... (I hope it is not necessary to describe what these units now represent.) the spirit of soldier brotherhood, which will result in the unification of all these narrow departmental organizations into a single whole ...
    I want to clarify some points if the sentence is misunderstood;
    Recruitment does not occur at the will of the person who wishes, but as a result of selection. And for this, a service is created - Advisers (3 levels), who, observing the passage of the service of a conscript in the WG, give an opinion - whether or not the conscript can continue the service of the Armed Forces, and all this wakes up to have feedback - (in the case of a misdemeanor directed to the Armed Forces, who sent him The advisor wakes up to bear responsibility for this (lowering the level, and for more serious or massive mistakes - until the contract is terminated) A person undergoing conscription service in the WG has a powerful motivation - to show his best side (of course, if he is going to make a career in the Armed Forces).
    We constantly keep in mind: The recruit does not make a choice for a year or two, he determines his fate for his entire active life. in the event of a misconduct, the contract is lost with all the ensuing consequences - this is also a powerful motivation.
    Why service in the Armed Forces for 15 years is associated with human physiology (after 35-37 years, self-preservation begins to prevail (the susceptibility of novelty, learning decreases)
    Counselors (in common parlance "Godfather") are a psychologist who determines the conscript's compliance with suitability and compatibility for service in the Armed Forces.
    Also, an employee, while serving in the Armed Forces, undergo ideological and psychological training for further service in civilian positions. "
    What I want to draw your attention to is that conscripts are recruited not from one conscription, but gradually forming connections from one age conscription, according to estimates, it will take from 15 to 20 years. armament) starts over.
    Obsolete equipment used in the Armed Forces is transferred to the WG - the instructors (and massively) have already been prepared ...
    The passage of military service in the WG is a direct constitutional duty to protect the Motherland before the RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY (please note - not Russian, Tatar, Chechen, but Russian) should include both men and women (training - a sanitary instructor (minimum), communications, air defense operator, etc.)
    People who do not want to do military service in the Russian society are deprived of the opportunity to work or serve in structures with state participation in the future.
    1. Azimuth
      Azimuth 26 September 2021 17: 57
      Ros. Guard, these are stationary troops, it does not guard any borders. Stationary troops are just a part of the repressive apparatus, to which the Russian army, for example, does not belong.
      For an officer and serviceman of the army with unatrophied notions of honor, service in a repressive apparatus is impossible.
  11. Alexander Chirkov-Air
    Alexander Chirkov-Air 24 September 2021 13: 49
    Doll army)))
  12. Artemion3
    Artemion3 6 November 2021 19: 43
    How glossy they are, like from the cover of Cosmopolitan. Happy well-fed faces of decaying Europe.
  13. Borisych
    Borisych 24 November 2021 00: 34
    The Swedish Armed Forces are quite sufficient to protect the Swedes from drunken Finns, which is good. Although the Finns, when they drink, do not get into a fight, meek guys. So the Swedish Armed Forces are more likely for solidity.