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Sweden Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten or "the Defense Force"): Army, Navy, Air Force, Home Guard (2024)

Military expenditures

1.5% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2022)
1.3% of GDP (2021)
1.2% of GDP (2020)
1.1% of GDP (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the SAF has about 25,000 active-duty personnel: approximately 14,000 continuous service/full-time and approximately 11,000 temporary service; approximately 21,000 Home Guard (some on active duty) (2023)

note 1: SAF personnel are divided into continuously serving (full-time) and temporary service troops (part-timers who serve periodically and have another main employer or attend school); additional personnel have signed service agreements with the SAF and mostly serve in the Home Guard; the SAF also has about 9,000 civilian employees

note 2: in 2021, Sweden announced plans that increase the total size of the armed forces to about 100,000 personnel by 2030

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SAF's inventory is comprised of domestically produced and imported Western weapons systems; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of military hardware to Sweden; Sweden has a large and sophisticated defense industry that produces a range of air, land, and naval systems (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-47 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; service obligation: 7-15 months (Army), 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47; compulsory military service, abolished in 2010, was reinstated in January 2018; conscription is selective, includes both men and women (age 18), and requires 6-15 months of service (2024)

note 1: Sweden conscripts about 5,500 men and women each year; it plans to increase this number to 8,000 by 2025

note 2: as of 2023, women made over 20% of the military's personnel

note 3: conscientious objectors in Sweden have the right to apply for alternative service (called vapenfri tjänst); after completing alternative service, the conscript then belongs to the civilian reserve

Military deployments

the Swedish military has small numbers of personnel deployed on multiple EU-, NATO-, and UN-led missions (2023)

Military - note

the Swedish military is responsible for the defense of the country and its territories against armed attack, supporting Sweden’s national security interests, providing societal support, such as humanitarian aid, and contributing to international peacekeeping and peacemaking operations; it has a relatively small active duty force that is designed to be rapidly mobilized in a crisis; it is equipped with modern, mostly Swedish-made weapons, exercises regularly, and is backed up by a trained reserve and a Home Guard; the military’s main focus is maintaining itself as a credible and visible deterrent through training and exercises, sustaining high levels of readiness, cooperating and collaborating with both domestic and foreign partners

Sweden maintained a policy of military non-alignment for over 200 years before applying for NATO membership in May 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine; it became a NATO member in March of 2024; before then, Stockholm joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and contributed to NATO-led missions, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo; the military cooperates closely with the forces of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO; established 2009), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; areas of cooperation include armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; Sweden is a signatory of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and contributes to CSDP missions and operations, including EU battlegroups; it also participates in UN-led missions; Sweden has close bilateral security relations with some NATO member states, particularly Finland, the UK, and the US

the military is headed by the Supreme Commander, who leads and supervises the force through Armed Forces Headquarters, which is the highest level of command and control of the military; the Army’s principal active combat arms units are more than a dozen battalions of armor, artillery, reconnaissance, security, and infantry forces, which include airborne/rangers, light, mechanized, and motorized infantry; in a crisis, the battalions would be filled out by reservists and formed into battlegroups/task forces and brigades; they are backed up by 40 Home Guard battalions comprised of locally based rapid-response units with mostly part-time but experienced soldiers; the Navy is organized into flotillas and an amphibious/naval infantry battalion; its principal warships are seven corvettes and four attack submarines; other combat vessels include patrol boats, fast attack craft, and minesweepers; all of the Navy’s warships are produced by Sweden; the Swedish Air Force has about 70 Swedish-made multirole fighter aircraft organized into wings with an additional 60 on order; the military also has a joint service special operations group directly under the Supreme Commander (2024)

NOTE: The information regarding Sweden on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Sweden 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Sweden 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.