With its almost 400 members, the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences has a unique opportunity to contribute to an open and qualified discussion about Swedish security and defence policy . We have earlier, with the support of Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, been able to carry out a comprehensive project KV21 (Military Science in the 21st century) which provided an extensive basis for the Defense Review and the Defense Bill’s conclusions on what resources should be added to Swedish military and civil defence.
We have for a few years now, with continued financial support from the same foundation and benefitting from extensive pro bono efforts by our members, had the opportunity to conduct an extensive research project SES (Security policy in tomorrow’s Europe – Swedish perspectives). This time we have tried to illuminate perspectives on security policy which are usually not at the centre of the Swedish defence policy discourse – which typically perceives security challenges in an east-west perspective. In the SES project, we have chosen to focus on European perspectives, including forms of cooperation with our partners in Europe. In our latest report, it is the Southern Dimension of security policy, from a European perspective, which is in focus. As the reader will note, it is an eye-opener for the need for a broad concept of security.
The challenges that Sweden and Europe face in the Southern Dimension do not currently have only, and not even primarily, military responses. At the same time, it is precisely in the South that global actors, notably the United States, have primarily engaged in military conflicts since World War II. And it’s there too that Swedish troops have been involved in important peacekeeping/peace enforcement operations. It is also in that vast arena where the great powers meet in the struggle to secure influence and strategic resources.
The report’s lead authors Michael Sahlin and Lars-Erik Lundin are Chair respectively Vice-Chair of the Academy’s Security Policy Department. Sahlin has been for many years been stationed in the south, including as ambassador to Turkey. Lundin has participated over decades in multilateral work on related issues, including as EU ambassador in Vienna.
An entirely high-quality, very interesting and eye-opening report.
General and Chairman
The Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences