Memo indicates Sweden wanted for NATO force

According to a secret memorandum to the government, Britain wants Sweden to participate in a new, special operations military team that could be deployed quickly in battle situations as in, for example, the Baltic states.

Daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported on the memorandum. Last year, NATO decided to enhance a special force called the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in response to Russia's increasingly aggressive military and political behavior. The VJTF is meant for immediate deployment in a crisis.

In 2017 Britain is set to lead operations of the VJTF, and it will do so with a 10,000-soldier strong force called the Joint Expeditionary Force which will have control headquarters outside of London.

According to the memorandum, JEF will be available to NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations. It will be available for various military operations including humanitarian efforts, deterrence, and conflict.

The memorandum was prepared last November by the Swedish defense attaché in London and titled "Orientation of JEF and requests for Swedish participation." It is now at the office of the Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist.

Hultqvist wrote to the newspaper that Sweden "has not received any formal invitation to contribute to JEF" and "consequently there is no preparation going on in the Cabinet."

But Allan Widman, who chairs the Parliamentary Defence Committee and who is a member of the opposition Liberal Party, told the newspaper that the memorandum indicated Sweden was taking another step towards NATO's core military operations.

"With this we will move even closer to NATO's serious military operations and even closer to Article Five in NATO's statutes about collective defense," said Widman.