Following the end of the Cold War, the Swedish military has gradually been reformed into a response force focused on international efforts. Its defence budget was halved, and the number of troops has been reduced several times. Today, Sweden is working to reverse the trend.
During the ongoing security conference Society and Defence in Sälen, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has presented a major defence budget hike, supported by the government parties, the Social Democrats and the Greens, as well as their sidekicks the Centre Party and the Liberals.
Hultqvist stressed that defence allotments have already increased several times since May 2015. This autumn’s defence settlement is intended to raise the defence budget by SEK 25 billion ($2.7 billion), or 40 percent.
“You have to go back to the beginning of the 1950s to see something similar,” Hultqvist said, as quoted by the Finnish national broadcaster Yle. “SEK 25 billion is a uniquely large amount of money. We take the security policy situation extremely seriously,” Hultqvist stressed.
Hultqvist also backed the Defence Committee’s proposal to expand the draft and open a score of new squadrons and regiments. These include, for instance, a new amphibious regiment in Gothenburg, a ranger regiment in Arvidsjaur and a new squadron in Uppsala.
“It is reasonable to give notice on these points. Eight thousand conscripts, a larger army, a regiment in Arvidsjaur, reinforcements on Gotland, conscripts training on Gotland…