In 2020, Sweden will arrange “total defence” exercises for the first time in 33 years due to an increased threat level, national broadcaster SVT reported. The drill is nationwide, aimed at boosting collaboration at the national, regional, and local level.
The Total Defence drill, TFÖ 2020, will contribute to increasing Sweden's resilience. A collaboration between the military and civil defence, it will be led jointly by the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) in order to prepare Sweden for war. According to Sweden's military command, it is high time to boost the nation's defence capacity.
The drill is divided into four activities and will enact a a fictitious situation when Sweden is exposed to an attack, and the government decides to engage total defence in light of the elevated threat. During the course of TFÖ 2020, municipalities, regions and authorities will practice maintaining important features of society in the event of a war.
“As far as military defence is concerned, we started a journey in 2016 with a new defence plan with additional resources and we needed to increase our military capability. Then we found that the civil defence starts at even lower levels”, Supreme Commander Chief Micael Bydén told SVT.
One of the exercise's key aspects will be carried out in May in connection with the Armed Forces' Aurora 20 drill, where supply chains between civilian actors and the Armed Forces will be revised and tested.
Last week, several northern municipalities gathered in Boden for a prelude to the total defence drill. According to SVT, one of the main challenges is that municipal operations today are largely managed by private companies.
“We have quite a lot on contract, private companies that run certain activities, and this means that we have to think in a different way when we now make new war organisations and place military personnel”, Agneta Lipkin, security coordinator in Kalix Municipality, said.
While answering SVT's question on whether the municipality will make it if war broke out, Lipkin admitted that a “ready-made organisation” is not in place yet, but is in the works. “We have a very clear organisation to be used in crisis situations, and we could use that”, Lipkin explained.
Sweden earlier embarked on a sweeping military upgrade that Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist called “the biggest reinforcement in decades”.
The recent defence agreement includes a sweeping upgrade of all military branches, beefing up the overall number of defence personnel from today's 60,000 to 90,000, including home defence and civilian employees.
Other key features include placing a mechanised battalion on the formerly demilitarised Baltic island of Gotland, doubling the number of conscripts to 8,000, upgrading tanks and combat vehicles, replacing shoreline air defences, enhancing submarine-hunting capacities, and massive procurements for the home guard.