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2 juillet 2014 3 02 /07 /juillet /2014 11:50
Sweden and NATO: getting closer?


1st July 2014  – by Oscar Jonsson * - europeangeostrategy.org


Sweden has been described as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) number one partner, and is known for carrying a heavier defence burden than many Allied nations. In 2002, Sweden officially gave up public claims to neutrality in favour of being ‘alliance free’, and in 2009 Sweden issued a declaration of solidarity to its neighbours who, except for Finland, are all NATO members. Furthermore, back in 2004, Sweden started transforming its Armed Forces to provide shell-defence capabilities with the rationale of being part of an alliance.


Despite these moves, the legacy and self-perception of Sweden as a neutral state persists. It is for this reason that Sweden has preferred to focus on the development of the European Union’s (EU) Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). CSDP is a different animal to NATO, and more amenable to the interests of a neutral state. Think how CSDP is couched within the Comprehensive Approach, and therefore within a policy paradigm that emphasises non-military approaches to security (aid, trade, etc.). While Sweden has taken a lead role in pushing the EU Battlegroup concept, and has put its weight behind the whole CSDP project, disagreements over the Chad mission, French re-integration into the military structures of NATO and the hesitancy over the Libya intervention has effectively killed the Policy.


It has taken Sweden a long time to come to terms with the ‘death’ of the CSDP, but it is slowly doing so. This partly explains why Sweden has pushed for regional cooperation through Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO); such regional arrangements are becoming the norm in Europe. Nonetheless, NORDEFCO is an unsatisfactory solution even though its members share a similar political culture and it could reduce materiel and training costs. The truth is that two important members of NORDEFCO –Norway and Denmark –are NATO members, and there is still a lack of unity between the members: observe how Norway opted for the United States’(US) F-35 over Sweden’s Gripen fighter.


Sweden is stuck in a ‘no mans land’with a major discrepancy between its security policy (which stipulates non-alliance) and its defence policy (which stipulates alliance). Sweden’s security policy is explicitly based on giving and receiving help from others in a time of crisis, but it is utterly unclear who would help Sweden in a given crisis. Given the status of the CSDP and NORDEFCO a major question needs asking: why is Sweden not a NATO member?


Sweden’s NATO debate


There are a number of strong arguments keeping Sweden out of NATO. Firstly, it is argued that at present Sweden has more influence over the US because it is not a member of the Alliance. Owing to Sweden’s contributions to international missions, its defence industry and its intelligence cooperation with the US vis-à-vis Russia, it is claimed that Sweden gets more attention from the US than it ever would as a NATO member. If Sweden were to join NATO, runs the argument, it would rather be subjected to complaints of under-spending rather than applause for its current contributions.


The second argument against Swedish NATO membership is that the Alliance can never be a substitute for the proper functioning of the Swedish Armed Forces. Given the vast finance problems within the Swedish Armed Forces, there is a big risk that NATO might hinder their development if Sweden were to join NATO too soon. At least, that is how it has certainly been sold in public debates. This is important because, as the crisis in Ukraine has showed us, when a crisis starts, you have what you have where you have it. And if you are going to receive support, it will take a while, even if you have prepared for such a crisis. In short, Sweden still needs to rely on its own forces especially considering that, as it is now, a Swedish capacity for territorial defence is lacking.


Thirdly, public support is often cited as a major means barring Sweden’s NATO accession. While support for Swedish membership has been increasing it still lies at around 30%. Interestingly, in the only poll made after the Ukraine crisis, support for NATO actually decreased.


Fourthly, and related to the issue of public opinion, is the position of the political parties. The biggest party of the ruling coalition, the Moderates, have listed three prerequisites regarding Sweden’s potential NATO membership. These prerequisites are: 1) it needs to be done with the support of the Swedish Social Democrats; 2) Finland must also join NATO; and, 3) there must be public support. These are all very reasonable arguments, but they all have problems attached to them.


Illogical arguments keeping Sweden out of NATO


It is, however, possible to refute logically, to a certain degree, all the arguments against Sweden’s membership of NATO. Firstly, seeking consensus with the Social Democrats is good, but the notion of Swedish neutrality is still embedded in the party’s image. For the Social Democrats to accept membership, they would need to re-write their history and image. So it would be difficult to join with them, but joining without their support would entail a fragile membership. The first prerequisite would therefore be difficult.


However, the second condition –Finland’s NATO membership –can be refuted. Indeed, Finland has so far investigated NATO membership three times and the country already has a strong territorial defence. This makes the issue of membership much more pressing in Sweden, whose defence forces are already transformed to be a part of an alliance and cannot perform credible territorial defence. Finland’s NATO membership should not pose an absolute hindrance to Sweden’s own accession.


The third condition – public support – cannot be seen as authoritative yet because the question has not been tried publicly. Public support is inconsistent and polls show that the public is not overwhelmingly pro-NATO, but the crux of the matter is that no one has driven the question. Rather, the Moderates, who are pro-NATO, want to silence the question because supporting membership would be politically costly. Yet the public opinion argument would not have been tested until the ministers stand up and tell the people of their conviction that NATO is best for the country.


Furthermore, it is illogical to argue that NATO, as an alliance based on the doctrine of nuclear deterrence, would hinder Sweden’s work for disarmament and peace. This has not hindered Norway playing a role in peace and disarmament, even though it is a NATO member. Other arguments that hold that NATO would force Sweden to spend 2% of GDP on defence are also wide of the mark. While there is undoubted pressure to spend more within NATO, most members of the Alliance do not presently meet the 2% threshold.


Finally, some believe that NATO would force Sweden to deploy troops to conflicts in which Sweden has no national interest. Decisions about deployment are taken by consensus in NATO, and not all members deploy troops to each and every NATO mission. Indeed, while it is true that there is more pressure as a NATO member to contribute to the Alliance, Sweden is already involved in a number of missions anyway. For example, Sweden joined the intervention in Libya in 2011 when only 15 out of 28 NATO members actually participated. Additionally, last spring Sweden contributed troops to NATO’s Response Force (NRF) and the country has played a role in the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan.


Sweden should join NATO


Sweden should join NATO but only if it does not lead to a further operational loss for the Swedish Armed Forces. Indeed, NATO would add three important factors to Sweden’s security and defence: 1) Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (1949) would strengthen Sweden’s political deterrence and security; 2) it would allow Sweden to deepen cooperation with NATO and allow it to contribute to the development of the Alliance; and 3) membership would allow Sweden to undertake the military planning and exercises that our defence policy is built upon.


These are important considerations for a country like Sweden. The country is no longer ‘neutral’ and it has given a declaration of solidarity to its neighbours and to all EU member states, 90% of which are NATO members. It is an inescapable fact that the security of Sweden, particularly in the present context with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, is dependent on the strength of the country’s partners and institutions. While it will be challenging to convince all of Sweden that NATO membership is in the best interests of the country, being without NATO seems increasingly impotent in providing for Sweden’s security needs.


* Oscar Jonsson is a PhD-Candidate at the Department of War Studies King's College London. He has held positions in the Swedish Armed Forces and the EU Institute for Security Studies. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
Les ministres nordiques de la Défense discutent de coopération et de sécurité


04-04-2014 French.china.org.cn


Les ministres de la Défense de cinq pays nordiques tiendront une réunion de deux jours le 8 avril à Tromso dans le nord de la Norvège pour discuter de la coopération et de la sécurité régionale.


Les ministres finlandais, danois, islandais, norvégien et suédois vont aborder la situation en Ukraine, le plan de cyber défense, le transport aérien tactique conjoint, le renforcement des capacités et le statut des divers projets de coopération nordique, a fait savoir jeudi un communiqué de presse diffusé par le ministère norvégien de la Défense.


Ils vont également échanger des informations et s'inspirer des expériences de coopération dans des opérations internationales en Afghanistan, en Syrie et au Mali.


"Les pays nordiques collaborent étroitement dans plusieurs domaines et nous vivons dans une époque où le dialogue constructif sur les sujets régionaux et mondiaux est très important", a indiqué le ministre norvégien de la Défense Ine Eriksen Soereide.


La Norvège assume la présidence tournante du forum de la coopération nordique de défense (NORDEFCO) en 2014.


Le NORDEFCO a été inauguré en 2009 pour renforcer la coopération nordique de défense.

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27 mars 2014 4 27 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
How to move defence cooperation further and faster



Brussels - 27 March, 2014 EU Defence Agency


European defence capabilities: pool it or lose it – the first round-table discussion of the EDA 2014 annual conference – brought together a wide range of "bottom-up" and "top-down" perspectives of the challenges of moving the process forward in Europe.


"The alternative to Pooling & Sharing is not that every country still gets to keep their own capabilities," said Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Minister of Defence. The Nordic defence cooperation (NORDEFCO) system works, she said, because cooperation is based on practicalities and a shared strategic view. "NORDEFCO does not have a telephone number."


"My fear is that we risk an uncoordinated approach between countries," she said, "and the foundation to successful cooperation is trust. The difference in planning cycles for countries can be a major obstacle." She added that it takes between 15 and 20 years to plan, specify and take delivery of a submarine, one of the most costly of all military capabilities. The best way to move the process forward is to identify best cases and focus on capability shortfalls.


There are a number of drivers behind the process, according to General Patrick de Rousiers, Chairman of the EU Military Committee. The ability to create a capability collectively which would not be possible singly is a primary driver – so a single ship may conduct anti-piracy operations under a national flag but training and maintenance back at base is conducted collectively. Improving efficiency was the driver behind the formation of the European Air Transport Command (EATC)where 150 tactical and strategic air lift aircraft from five nations now work together. And then there are the political and industrial motivations not just to produce a single platform but to ensure it to support it for 20 or 30 years.


"Pooling is the way of the future," said General Sverker Göranson, Chief of Defence, Sweden. "I’m not convinced nations will necessarily lose capabilities otherwise but they could be degraded." Experience has shown that a good way to start is with just two nations and then grow from that.


Tim Rowntree, Director of OCCAR, spoke of the need to build confidence now that the process can and will work. "We need to learn to look objectively at what we have achieved," he said. Nations risk losing sovereign capabilities if their requirements remain diverse. "We do need to plan further ahead, to align requirements between nations… Platforms such as the A400M have shown that our industry can rise to the occasion and deliver world beating solutions."


Numbers can be a powerful persuader – if you can show how much can be saved through cooperation then this can be presented to policy makers and they then can be challenged to say "no", he said. And cooperation is not just an issue of long term, large scale capability developments – around 90% of urgent operational requirements have been delivered through international cooperation because many of these could not be delivered through national budgets.


But the changed mind-set required has not yet fully happened, said Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General. Nations still show a reluctance to lose jobs or compromise on requirements. But there are positive changes, such as the emergence of the framework nation concept, where some full spectrum capability nations team with smaller nations to agree areas of specialisation and prove full capabilities between them, "so both can get more bang for the buck," he said. NATO has developed a successful strategic airlift command where C-17s are operated on a time share basis."


To move defence cooperation further you will have to create incentives.

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10 juillet 2013 3 10 /07 /juillet /2013 11:50
Across Europe, Nations Mold Cyber Defenses

Jul. 9, 2013 - by TOM KINGTON – Defense News


ROME — Since Estonia suffered a crippling cyberattack in 2007, generally attributed to Russian hackers, European states have slowly been organizing their disparate cyber crime and security organizations under national coordinating committees, bringing military commanders into contact with intelligence agencies, police forces and private industry.


The new furor over US spying on European Union nations will likely heighten efforts in the region to strengthen defenses against economic and political cyberattack from political and economic adversaries and allies alike.




In Italy, a decree issued by the Cabinet in January sought to impose a chain of command on a series of cybersecurity operations launched in recent years by law enforcement and state agencies.


The decree puts the prime minister at the top of the pyramid but gives operational authority to the head of the DIS, the Italian intelligence agency that oversees both overseas and domestic operations.


“The DIS has led this reorganization and has taken a central role,” said Stefano Mele, a cyber analyst with the Italian Institute for Strategic Studies. “It is the first real step toward an operational approach to cybersecurity.”


“The Italian cyber strategy is defensive,” an Italian intelligence source said.


The new setup, which is reportedly still being staffed, involves a political committee to propose strategy to the prime minister, drawing representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, defense, justice, economy and economic development.



A permanent monitoring center is also being established, to be run by the prime minister’s military adviser.


Mele said the new center would be open 24 hours a day to monitor threats.


“Police units have previously mounted 24-hour monitoring operations, but the new setup moves beyond a focus on cyber crime to cyberwarfare,” he said.


The center can also activate a crisis unit, drawing on various ministries when an attack threatens national security.


One analyst feared the new structure was too complex to react quickly to cyber threats.


“The chain of command is too long and complicated to respond to attacks, which are by definition fast, but this is a start,” said Raoul Chiesa, a cybersecurity consultant to the UN.


The Italian military’s cyber defense operation, which is run by the General Staff in Rome, continues on a parallel track to the new civilian setup, but there would be crossovers, Mele said.


“The key role given the prime minister’s military adviser is no coincidence,” Mele said.




Responsibility for German cybersecurity is divided among many players on the federal and state levels. The National Cyber Defense Center, under the federal Interior Ministry, was founded in April 2011, involving the military, the police, the secret service and other security and civil defense organizations.


Additionally, a National Cyber Security Committee has been set up to decide wider cybersecurity policy, involving the chancellery, various ministries, the states and industry representatives as associate members.


While these are all defensive measures, the Bundeswehr acknowledged last year that it had a Computer Network Operations Team capable of offensive action. It is part of the Strategic Reconnaissance Command and stationed in Rheinbach, near Bonn. Press reports suggest the unit started training a couple of years ago and reached initial operational capability in 2012.


However, actual offensive operations would require the approval of the German parliament, as all German military actions do.


The team is not represented in the National Cyber Defence Center nor is it responsible for the defense of the military itself against cyberattacks; the military has built up a separate IT security organization.


United Kingdom


Cybersecurity spending in the UK emerged unscathed from a new round of government austerity measures announced by Chancellor George Osborne for the 2015-16 financial year.


The Treasury said cyber was a national security priority and investment in the area will continue to grow in 2015, including a £210 million (US $320 million) investment in the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP).


That money builds on £650 million in funding set aside in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review to tackle cyber threats and turn the problem into an opportunity for the British security industry.


The initial four-year spending program, started in 2011, allocated an extra £384 million to the intelligence services over the period with the Ministry of Defence-allocated £90 million.


That money is in addition to other cyber funding streams for the intelligence agencies and government departments — figures that are not aired in public.


The review said cyberattacks were among the government’s four top security risks.


That review was followed at the end of 2011 by a new UK cybersecurity strategy that sought to better protect cyberspace interests and build the capabilities needed to combat the growing problem.


Only last week, Iain Lobban, the head of the government’s intelligence-gathering operation, GCHQ, told the BBC that business secrets were being stolen in Britain on an “industrial scale.”


Government and industry networks are targeted by sophisticated cyberattacks about 70 times a month, often by other states, he said.


GCHQ has already invested in new capabilities to identify and analyze hostile cyberattacks, and now plays host to a new Joint Cyber Unit set up in partnership with the MoD to help counter threats to the UK.


Another MoD initiative will likely see the armed services set up a “Cyber Reserve” to harness the talents of industry specialists and others.




Meanwhile, Poland is increasing the cyber defense and combat capacities of its armed forces — one of the priorities of the modernization of the Polish armed forces, according to a white paper on national security, released in May by the National Security Bureau.


The paper “recommends a national cyber defense system … integrated with similar systems of [other NATO member states],” the document said.


The paper also recommends the armed forces receive “mechanisms and systems for offensive activities in this area, and treated as an element of support to conventional activities.”


Poland’s cybersecurity efforts are largely driven by the massive cyberattacks that targeted Estonia in 2007 and crashed the Baltic state’s Internet infrastructure, local analysts said.


Two organizations set up to avoid the fate of Estonia will become operational next year.


The Polish Ministry of Defense and the Internal Security Agency, Poland’s domestic intelligence agency, are aiming to launch the National Cryptology Center, designed as a “response to the newest cyber threats … which should bring a breakthrough in what concerns [Poland’s] cybersecurity,” Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said.


A new unit within the Ministry of Defense will also foster the development of information technologies for military purposes.


The planned Inspectorate of Implementation of Innovative Technologies will be modeled on the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, according to Siemoniak.


Nordic Region


Across Europe, Nations Mold Cyber Defenses

Closer collaboration in developing common platforms to counter cyber threats has been given priority status by the Nordic militaries’ cooperation vehicle, Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO).


The need for a robust Nordic dialogue and pan-Nordic interaction is highlighted in the study, “Cyber Defense in the Nordic Countries and Challenges of Cyber Security,” produced by the Finnish National Defense University and delivered to NORDEFCO in January.


The study generated a report, “The Fog of Cyber Defense,” which is expected to provide a road map for future cyber threat cooperation among Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. It is anticipated that the first cross-border projects to develop common anti-cyber threat policies and strategies could emerge as soon as 2014.


In the meantime, the five Nordic states are working to strengthen their domestic cyber defense capabilities. All have, or are in the process of, establishing national cyber defense centers that can draw expertise from military and national intelligence units, as well as cyber threat divisions within the communications regulatory authorities in each country.


Recommendations advanced in the “The Fog of Cyber Defense” include a pan-Nordic political initiative to pursue cooperation. This would entail developing a sophisticated cyberspace information exchange platform supported by each country’s cyber defense center; development of a common cyber strategy; the holding of joint interoperability exercises to enhance linguistic, procedural and technical compatibility; the establishment of a common Nordic Cyber Defense Center; and the possibility of standardizing legislation on cyber defense cooperation.


NORDEFCO is running a so-called Cooperation Area research program to ascertain the cost benefits and operational gains from Nordic cyber defense cooperation that would specifically deal with immediate threat warnings.


On a national level, Norway established a dedicated cyber defense unit under the management of the Ministry of Defense in 2012. The unit merges the cyber threat and defense capabilities of the Armed Forces Command’s Norwegian Military Intelligence Service, the National Security Authority and the Norwegian Police Security Service.


Denmark established a Center for Cyber Security under the direction of the Ministry of Defense in December, while Finland launched its Total Society Cyber Security Strategy in January, a four-year strategy that aims to have a dedicated cyber defense center and acomprehensive countermeasures infrastructure in place in 2016.


In Sweden, the government established a National Cyber Defense organization in January, which will share information from frontline cyber units within the military’s signals intelligence wing FRA, the military intelligence unit MUST and the Swedish national police intelligence service, Säpo.


Albrecht Müller in Bonn, Andrew Chuter in London, Jaroslaw Adamowski in Warsaw and Gerard O’Dwyer in Helsinki contributed to this report.

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