Sweden opts to return to conscription

Swedish infantry training with NATO forces. Denmark, June 2016. [US Department of Defence/Flickr]

The Swedish government is expected to officially decide to bring back conscription today (2 March).

Conscription is required enrollment for military or naval service, which the former centre-right government scrapped in Sweden in 2010.

But—the current party in control, the Social Democratic-Green coalition, wants to bring compulsory service back to the country. The moderates and the liberals in Sweden said they support the idea, according to The Local.se.

“If we want full and trained military units, the voluntary system needs to be complemented by compulsory military service,” Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told public broadcaster SVT.

If this plan goes into effect, about 100,000 male and female teens will be asked to complete recruitment questionnaires. Following that, an estimated 13,000 will engage in an enrollment process, and then around 4,000 teens will be made to complete basic military training annually.

Sweden to vote on closer NATO ties

Swedish lawmakers are set to vote on 25 May on a Host Nation Agreement with NATO that would represent a step toward further cooperation with the alliance for a nation that has resisted alignment with multilateral military bodies for over 200 years, write Olof Kronvall and Colin Cleary.

“We have a system in Norway, which works, that includes both conscription and a professional organisation and that’s the one we are trying to mimic,” said Hultqvist.

Sweden is not a member of NATO, but the country has been moving towards closer defense cooperation with NATO because of increased Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea.

In October of 2014, officials in Sweden became concerned over suspicious vessels in waters around Stockholm. During that time, the Swedish military hunted for the foreign submarine in the country’s biggest such mobilisation since the Cold War.

The Svenska Dagbladet reported that the hunt began after a Russian radio transmission was picked up on an emergency frequency.

Sweden suspects Russian submarine got stranded in its waters

Sweden yesterday (19 October) released a grainy photo of a mysterious vessel in waters around Stockholm, as its military hunted for a foreign submarine in the country’s biggest such mobilisation since the Cold War.

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