Forces: December 20, 1999


The Swedish government has unveiled plans to cut the Swedish Army in half (this reflects the wartime mobilization strength). The government says that no one could invade Sweden for at least ten years, and there would be plenty of time to rebuild the disbanded divisions if the situation changed. Critics note that the Swedish Army was cut in half in 1925, and by the time someone noticed Hitler just to their south, WWII had started and the Swedes were forced to make diplomatic concessions to Germany -- e.g., selling them high quality iron ore -- for lack of the military strength to resist. There will still be 18,000 young people drafted each year (a fraction of the current number) and 25 training bases will be closed (eliminating 7,000 jobs). The Swedish government says that this reduction in draftees, training, reservists, and mobilization units will have no effect on the active duty armed forces. Indeed, there are plans to increase these slightly; adding a parachute battalion and a cyberwar unit, and buying equipment to more rapidly deploy the available troops. Additional support will be provided so that two mechanized battalions can be deployed simultaneously on peacekeeping duties, rather than the single battalion that can be deployed at present. --Stephen V Cole


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