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Sweden Military


The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten), is a Government agency responsible for the peacetime operation of the armed forces of Sweden. The primary task of the agency is to train and deploy peace support forces abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to defend the country in the event of war. The Armed Forces is branched into Army, Air Force and Royal Navy. As a Government agency, it reports to the Swedish Ministry of Defence. The head of the armed forces is the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces (Överbefälhavaren, ÖB), and after the sovereign is the most senior officer in the country.

Until the end of the Cold War, nearly all males reaching the age of military service were conscripted. In recent years, the number of conscripted males has reduced dramatically, while the number of female volunteers has increased slightly. Recruitment has generally shifted towards finding the most motivated recruits, rather than solely those otherwise most fit for service. All soldiers serving abroad must by law be volunteers. In 1975 the total number of conscripts was 45,000. By 2003 it was down to 15,000. After the Defence Proposition 2004, the number of troops in training will decrease even more to between 5,000 and 10,000 each year, while emphasizing the need to recruit only the soldiers later prepared to volunteer for international service. The total forces gathered would consist of about 60,000 men. This could be compared with the 80s before the fall of the Soviet Union, when Sweden could gather up to 1,000,000 men.

Swedish units have taken part in peacekeeping operations, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Currently, one of the most important tasks for the Swedish Armed Forces is to form a Swedish-led EU Battle Group to which Norway, Finland, Ireland and Estonia will also contribute. The Nordic Battle Group (NBG) is to have a 10-day deployment readiness during the first half of 2008 and, although Swedish led, will have its Operational Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood, outside London.

Sweden aims to have the option of remaining neutral in case of proximate war, and is therefore not a formal member of NATO or any other military alliance.


Military branches:
Swedish Armed Forces (Forsvarsmakten): Army (Armen), Royal Swedish Navy (Marinen), Swedish Air Force (Svenska Flygvapnet) (2006)

Military service age and obligation:
19 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation: 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47 (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 19-49: 1,838,427
females age 19-49: 1,774,659 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 19-49: 1,493,668
females age 19-49: 1,441,257 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 58,724
females age 19-49: 55,954 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.5% (2005 est.)





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