Is there a common notion amongst the political and military leadership in Sweden on how to defend the country? Several events in the arena of international politics during the 20th century argue for the importance of coherence between political and military thinking. Different focus during peacetime has subsequently caused fatal consequences in times of war.
This thesis studies a less obvious case: Sweden, a small-state, during the 1990’s in the aftermath of the Cold War. In the effort of identifying inconsistency between the political and military level the study deals with a more comprehensive issue for any democratic society: How shall the elected political leadership exercise control over an authority (subordinated the government and) with deeply rooted professional values and with authority vested in it of crucial importance for national survival? Although several of government authorities play key roles in this respect the Armed Forces stands out to be the single most important entity.
The thesis approaches the problem by studying one measure of control: the defence doctrine. The doctrine is analysed by studying various documents provided by the political decisionsprocess and with interviews involving a significant number of actors in the politico-military leaderships. The purpose has been to identify whether there is any inconsistency prevailing in the perception of values to be protected by the Armed Forces in case or war, what poses threat to these values and finally how to counter the threats. Hence, the political and military views on defence doctrine are examined. The last element of the doctrine, how to deal with the perceived threats, is embodied in the strategy for countering threats.
Comparative studies involving Norway and Finland have been made to provide relevant references for the findings and provide a framework for elaboration on the differences between political and military priorities encapsulated in the research hypothesis.
In addition, the research hypothesis involved the assumption that technical, tactical and operational decisions would serve as explanations for any inconsistency between military and political priorities. Piecemealed low-level decisions were assumed to unintentionally diverge bottom- up perceptions and create tensions if the politico-military interaction is not fully functional or if the politicians do not fully comprehend the implications of their decisions.
The empirical findings suggest differences in the consistency of the politico-military leadership when comparing Sweden with Norway and Finland. For Sweden, the findings suggest a relative good politico-military adherence regarding values and threat perceptions. However there is a disparity in the views on what strategy to adopt and the military leadership has a more offensive mindset than the political leadership.
The empirical data has primarily been collected from processes. To provide a better explanation for the findings the structure of security policymaking has been adopted in a new conceptual model based on Edward Luttwak’s ‘vertical dimension’.
Umeå: Statsvetenskap , 2003. , 291 p.
2003-09-26, S 213 H, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)