Sweden’s defense command announced Thursday that the country is amending the Military Strategy Doctrine (MSD), under which the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) deal with threats against the country’s sovereignty. The change calls for a more aggressive posture and a transition from the country’s post-Cold War-era strategy of containment. Swedish leaders cite fears of growing Russian aggression.
The revised MSD calls for expanding the Swedish military force and establishing a framework to enable deployment of advanced weapons systems as part of a “sustained” and coordinated high-impact strike against attacks. The strategy also contemplates Swedish collaboration with multinational Nordic, European Union, and NATO forces against a potential Russian attack against NATO interests.
Allan Widman, Parliamentary Defense Committee chairman said, “We could not continue on a path of depletion in our Armed Forces. We live in more unpredictable times. The old military doctrine was shaped after the last Cold War when Sweden believed that Russia was on the road to becoming a real democracy that would no longer pose a threat to this country.”
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist aimed to justify the new, aggressive posture by citing a fear of Russian hostility. “This deeper form of Nordic defense cooperation will provide for a direct response to aggressive Russian behavior.”
Kremlin officials have dismissed the idea that Russia would engage in an attack against NATO or European interests as outlandish and a media creation. Last July, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted saying the idea was “the kind of thing that only crazy people think and only when they are dreaming.”