Sweden won't have a realistic chance to withstand a significant crisis, such as a major IT attack, which is becoming increasingly common in military operations, the report called "A New Total Defense" suggested, pointing out a dramatic lack of civil defense and substantial deficiencies in the military defense, the Dagens Nyheter daily reported.
By contrast, at the height of the Cold War, the nation's "total defense" included a system of shelters, an abundance of protective wear such as gas masks, large depots of food and fuels, and, last but not least, preparedness in healthcare. Today, it's nothing but a memory. A cyberattack alone could suffice to take down Sweden's entire electricity system, the report found.
"Today, we don't even have the rudiment of a civil defense. A cyberattack can eliminate the supply of electricity across the country, which will lead to virtually everything coming to a grinding halt — telephone networks, mobile networks, payment systems, to name a few. People will start starving after about a week from when the food stores are emptied," project manager Frank Rosenius wrote in the preface to the report.
"Should the attack switch to military action, the most qualified units within the army and the navy are likely to be stubbed out or will never come into effect," he continued.
A major military problem, according to the report, is that Sweden has so few troops that they will never be able to handle an armed conflict. Therefore, the staff of advanced units must be doubled by at least 2030, the report suggested.
Other suggestions include appointing a "civil commander" and establishing an authority designated to defend Sweden against IT attacks around the clock. Furthermore, the report proposed establishing a modern "psychological defense" to protect the country and its people against "influence operations."
"There is a radical demand for a rehash of the entire total defense. Civil defense must be rebuilt from scratch," the report pointed out.
The "total defense" is a strategy to be implemented in Sweden in the event of war through the collaboration between the civil defense and the military in order to protect and uphold socially important functions.
In 2013, Sweden's then Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson notoriously claimed that his nation would be able to defend itself "for one week at best."