Skylt över dörr: Rekryteringsmyndigheten. Uniformerad militär i parad. Foto: Johannes Ledel/Sveriges Radio & Fanni Olin Dahl/TT.
The sign for the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency, juxtaposed against a parade of uniformed soldiers. Photo: Johannes Ledel/Sveriges Radio & Fanni Olin Dahl/TT.

Armed Forces' staffing problems could hurt preparedness

1:49 min

A lack of staff in the Swedish Armed Forces is affecting the country's military preparedness, Swedish Radio News reports.

The secrecy act prevents Swedish Radio from acquiring a detailed picture of the staffing situation in all of the Armed Forces. But the five units that have responded to Swedish Radio's request for information have all said they are understaffed. The unit reporting the worst problem stated that a quarter of its positions are vacant.

"The most common complaints I get when I'm out with the units is that there is no balance between duties and resources. They just don't have time for everything," says Lars Fresker, head of a military trade union.

According to Christer Tistam, head of the Life Guard regiment in Stockholm, there are some 20-30 vacancies in the regiment, much due to people being off sick and on temporary leave. He tells Swedish Radio News that they manage their duties at bigger ceremonies and guarding the Royal Palaces, but that the first thing to suffer when there is a lack of personnel, is the training to prepare for battles.

Swedish Radio also refers to "sources within the Armed Forces" who say most units have a staffing problem and that the situation is "difficult".

"This takes a heavy toll on the staff. They are frustrated in the units, but they're loyal, so they make the effort and work extra," Fresker tells Swedish Radio News.

In 2010, the Swedish Armed Forces changed from a conscript system to a professional one. Since then, there have been several reports about difficulties recruiting a sufficient number of staff.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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