The Role of Industry in Sweden’s Total Defence: Past, Present, and Future
In anticipation of an article to be published by NPC in early 2023, Par Malmberg, Chair, Swedish Government’s Inquiry into the Security of Supply, shares the article’s main themes on the historical role of companies in Swedish economic and total defence. The article will be co-authored by Par Malmberg and three economic history scholars including Professor Jan Ottosson of Uppsala University, Associate Professor Martin Eriksson of Umeå University, and Associate Professor Olle Jansson of Uppsala University, based on findings from their collaborative research project.
The NPC has commissioned a short article on Sweden’s work with industry as part of its total defence concept and its whole-of-society approach to national preparedness. The article will cover the formative years in the early 1960s all the way up to the gradual discontinuation of total defence planning at the turn of the 21st Century as well as the current status and possible future developments in the context of changing geopolitical realities. The focus is on the forms of collaboration and coordination between the State and private companies in Sweden. Most notable are the so-called “K-companies” (K being the abbreviation for “krigsviktigt företag”, i.e., a company of importance for the war effort). This is a system where private companies signed contracts with the government agreeing to direct their production capacities in case of crisis or war, to secure key supplies for the armed forces and other critical societal services, and for the civilian population. Industry’s role for Sweden’s military and civil defence capabilities is no less critical today than during the Cold War. However, there are challenges as Sweden considers the re-introduction of the system, not least because of foreign ownership in important societal sectors and the national and EU legislation governing the public procurement of goods and services.
The article will be co-authored by Pär Malmberg, Chair of the Swedish Government’s Inquiry into the Security of Supply of Goods and Services, Lieutenant Colonel at the Swedish Armed Forces Defence Staff, and PhD Student at the Stockholm School of Economics, Professor Jan Ottosson of Uppsala University, Associate Professor Martin Eriksson of Umeå University, and Associate Professor Olle Jansson of Uppsala University. As scholars of economic history, they are collaborators on the research project: ”A mutual commitment? The state, the K-companies and the Swedish economic defense 1962–2002”, funded with a grant from the Swedish Research Council.