With a diminishing number of Swedes with a completed army service and a drop in volunteer recruits, the military is a facing a severe shortage of soldiers, a report commissioned by Sweden’s Defence Committee shows.
“We have a reserve of conscripts, but it will soon have been emptied,” Allan Widman, the chairman of parliament’s Defence Committee and a Liberal Party politician, told Swedish Radio News.
One in five positions within the Armed Forces is unmanned, which means there are 6,000 spots that should have been filled one year ago, in accordance with a decision made in 2009.
The Defence Committee’s vice chairman and Social Democrat politician Åsa Lindestam told Swedish Radio News that the mandatory draft must be reintroduced in Sweden.
Sweden’s minister for defence, Peter Hultqvist of the Social Democrats, wants to investigate whether the Norwegian model, which combines draftees with permanent employees, can be introduced in Sweden, a move that has support in parliament.
However, the question of whether or not to introduce the draft is controversial and will likely be hotly debated when the new defence directive is to be defined later this year. The directive will determine Sweden’s defence policy for the next five years.
While the conservative Moderate Party wants to maintain a voluntary army, the Liberal Party no longer believes in the current model.
“It has not worked in the intended way. How are we supposed to secure Sweden’s defence going forward? It will have to be obligatory in one way or another,” said Widman.