March 02, 2017

Sweden re-activates military draft over concerns about Russian aggression

The Swedish government has decided to re-activate conscription from January 1 2018.

The security environment in Europe and in Sweden's vicinity has deteriorated and the all-volunteer recruitment hasn't provided the Armed Forces with enough trained personnel. The re-activating of the conscription is needed for military readiness.

Trained personnel are fundamental for building military capability. In 2016 the Armed Forces lacked 1 000 active squad leaders, soldiers and sailors as well as 7 000 reservists.

Recruitment to the Armed Forces will be both voluntary and conscription. Individual motivation, interest and will should to be considered as much as possible.

The Armed Forces is planning for 4 000 recruits annually in basic military training in 2018 and 2019.

The modern conscription is gender neutral and will include both women and men.

At the end of 2016 the Swedish armed forces were missing about 1 000 full time serving squad leaders, soldiers and sailors and about 7 000 of the part time serving squad leaders, soldiers and sailors it needs. The goal and ambition was to have approximately 6 600 full time serving and 10 000 part time serving squad leaders, soldiers and sailors in the Swedish Armed Forces.

Sweden, with a population of 9.8 million, also relies on some 22,000 members of its volunteer Home Guards.

Proposed changes of the current manning system shall, according to the commission directive, be financed by existing budget for the military forces from 2016 - 2020.

During 2018 and 2019 4 000 recruits shall undergo basic military training. During 2020 it shall increase to 5 000.

During the next period (2021-2025), the Report has calculated the yearly need for personnel to 6 000 in year 2021, and 8 000 yearly from 2022 till 2025.


The Armed Forces is planning for 4 000 recruits annually in basic military training in 2018 and 2019. Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

Turkey and Germany are the only major NATO countries that still use a draft. Conscription also exists in Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece and Norway, according to Deutsche Welle. France ended the draft in 2001. Italy and the Netherlands put the draft on hold.





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