Total defence demands new types of collaborations

Since approximately two years back there is a lasting work with rebuilding the Swedish total defence-concept. Amongst the challenges is finding the right type for a collaboration between authorities and the business sector. We can find an example of this on the other side of the Baltic sea.

A war doesn’t necessarily mean a concern for the military. The civilian society need to find new ways to work in crisis or war. Colonel Mats Klintäng is responsible for the Armed Forces’s Total defence section at the management staff.

  • It’s about how to use all the resources we have in order to defend ourselves if anybody wants to ruin things for us, for example take control over our information system or cause malfunctions with our energy supply, he explains.

Mats Klintäng mentions the constant recurring cyber-attacks against Sweden as an example.

  • It is important to show people that we already are subjected to interferences and also show them what measurements we take when that happens. If we can show that we can handle that then we can create a trust with the citizens for the authorities.


Business is not the same

The functions most important to protect is the food supply, electricity supply – which is a condition for all IT systems, healthcare as well as all the financial services. But the conditions are different than those that the Total defence had during the Cold War. The de-regulation and globalisation has meant that control has been moved from authorities to businesses and in some cases even away from Sweden.

  • Before the farmer, factory and store was in Sweden, but it doesn’t necessarily look that way anymore. We also don’t carry any stocks, it’s more about just-in-time deliveries, says Mats Klintäng who means that that businesses play a tremendously important role in the new Total defence.
  • At a reinforced alert the right of disposition falls into place, which gives the Armed Forces the right to take over companies in exchange for money. But the best thing would be to agree and create as many collaborations resulting in win-win situations as possible. He judges that the interest to take part in the Total defence is big in the business sector.
  • The challenge is to find good ways to do it in. We also have a directive from the EU and procurement regulations to adapt to.


Adopt the Finish concept of total defense?

A model for collaborations can be found in Finland, who unlike Sweden has had an expanded Total defence even after the Cold War.

  • Since the Emergency Supply is so much about protecting us from civil crises, for example storms or pandemics, anything else has not been in question, says Tuija Karanko, Secretary General at the Defence and Airline Companies, the Finnish equivalent to the Swedish Security and Defence Industry Association, SOFF.

Together with the National Emergency Supply Agency, Finnish equivalent for the Total defence, the is part of a group meant to help the Finnish companies to in turn help the National Defence and the society in war and crises.

  • If the National defence judges a company to be important to them they will sign a deal regarding what should apply at war. The trade association’s task will then be to try and help the companies to fulfil the deals, says Tuija Karanko.

Not least, it is about identifying problems that could arise and how to try and fix them.

  • One question is how they should solve the problem of having employees that are liable for military services. In that instance they need to understand that they cannot demand that employees don’t get called in for service. Another question is to secure the chain of supplies. If the companies are dependent on suppliers outside of Finland they need to do a risk assessment and see if they should keep that supplier or not. But it is clear that we can never become completely independent.

Tuija Karanko mentions the carrying of stocks of example grains and ammunition as a safe way to secure the supply of some goods.

  • But it is not the only solution. We work more and more with attaining an alternative to carrying stocks where we examine what we can obtain with the knowledge and commodities that exist within the country’s borders.


First published in SOFF:s Magazine 2018 (in Swedish).

Text: Per Johansson