Swedish Armed Forces after ISAF- Lessons and influence at the military-strategic level


  • Henric Roosberg
  • Anna Weibull

Publish date: 2014-08-18

Report number: FOI-R--3914--SE

Pages: 106

Written in: Swedish


  • ISAF
  • Warfare ability
  • Doctrine
  • Capabilities
  • Swedish Armed
  • Forced
  • Peace Support Operations
  • Afghanistan


The Swedish Armed Forces operation in Afghanistan has been on ongoing for twelve years and is about to end. During the operation the Swedish Armed Forces has also been undergoing fundamental changes, primarily due to a shift of focus from mandatory service and defense against an invasion to a professional army and predominantly peace support operations. Today, a shift back to a more national focused defense is on the rise, not the least due to the war in Georgia and recent crisis in Ukraine. The influence derived from the ISAF-campaign must therefore be evaluated from another perspective than when the operation was initiated. The aim of this study is to describe how different needs and operational requirements have arose during the Swedish operation and explain how, and in which ways, this has affected The Swedish Armed Forces. The analysis is based on the military-strategic doctrine's model on warfighting capability. The analysis shows that there has been a vast influence on what the doctrine categorises as physical, conceptual and moral factors. Examples on the influence on the physical factors are the forces', and especially the army's, adaption to the conditions in Afghanistan, resulting in acquirement of mission specific systems and weaponry, previously exceptional in Swedish peace support operations. The conceptual factors are characterised by the doctrinal development on multifunctional operations and countering irregular warfare. Among the moral factors the most evident influence and lesson is the development of a Swedish veteran policy. The study also shows that although important elements, such as mission specific systems and tactics, have been boosted by the operation, many other requirements have been disadvantaged due to the competition of resources. The effects of these tradeoffs may be apparent with a more national oriented defense policy.