Thursday, April 05, 2018

Total Defense But a Specific Vulnerability

Sweden is prepared to restore some level of total national mobilization to resist a Russian invasion, but it won't really matter unless Sweden's military is restored to something closer to its Cold War capabilities.

As a sign of Swedish threat awareness, this is great:

A landmark commission formed in early 2017 is laying the groundwork to revitalize Sweden’s “total defense” concept, which would see the country ready to use all aspects of Swedish life to push back an invasion from an unspecified foreign adversary — but one that sounds suspiciously like Europe’s biggest bogeyman in Moscow.

In an exclusive interview with Defense News during a recent visit to Washington, Defence Commission head Bjorn von Sydow and commission secretariat chief Tommy Akesson explained their vision for revitalizing Sweden’s defense infrastructure — one they believe must enable the country to hold out against military aggression for three months.

Which is wise because Sweden is only a sort-of NATO state these days. It will take time for help to arrive and that help could have competing missions depending on the breadth of Russia's threat.

But how is Russia going to invade Sweden? Through Finland? Through Norway? An amphibious and air assault through the Baltic Sea?

If Russia is invading Sweden, neither Finland nor Norway will be sending much help. Help would need to come from Denmark and Germany first, motoring into Sweden on that Baltic crossing link.  Maybe Denmark could send a token force quickly if they aren't beefing up home defenses and Bornholm Island. But Germany isn't in any shape to send any military help north.

And honestly, the Danes might be better off preparing to blow the bridge that is part of the bridge-tunnel link between them and Sweden.

I just don't see Russia posing a ground threat to Sweden's territorial integrity except for Gotland Island in the Baltic Sea which Russia has an interest in capturing to shield Kaliningrad and the eastern Baltic Sea from NATO air and naval power should Russia decide to invade Estonia, Latvia, and/or Lithuania.

Although if Sweden revives their defense capabilities enough, they might become NATO-worthy.