April 2, 2014 defense-aerospace.com/
(Source: Radio Sweden; published April 1, 2014)
Sweden's New Defence Poorly Planned
The National Audit Office criticised the government and the armed forces on Tuesday for not doing enough to ensure the long-term funding of the nation's defence.
In 2009, Sweden's armed forces went from a conscript system to become a professional force, but according to the National Audit Office, the budget for the big change has been too tight. The government is now told it needs to "improve the economic conditions to reach the goals long-term".
The equipment budget for the next ten years alone needs another SEK 30-50 billion, according to the report.
The switch-over to professional armed forces also means recruiting new staff with different competencies, something that has not happened fast enough.
In a statement, the auditor Jan Landahl said "extensive rationalisations" are necessary. But whether that is enough, or more money is needed, he did not want to say. "It is pretty tough. You are supposed to lower the staffing costs at the same time as you have to add new staff for the new organisation," Landahl told the news agency TT.
In a comment, Defence Minister Karin Enström said the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces have been working hard for the past year and a half to review the budget. She says the government has already decided on a gradual increase in the defence budget. "I can also see that further increases will be necessary," she told TT.
She adds that the crisis in Crimea has changed the security situation in Europe. "We are prepared to strengthen our capability, and then you also have to pay what it costs," she said.