Protection of civilians - A literature study on threats, vulnerabilities, capabilities, resilience, consequences and measures


  • Björn Nevhage
  • Roger Roffey
  • Jessica Johansson
  • Eva Mittermaier

Publish date: 2017-06-19

Report number: FOI-R--4437--SE

Pages: 132

Written in: Swedish


  • protecting; civilian population; threat; consequences; resilience; capability; vulnerability; measures; actions


In Sweden, the defence policy focus was altered in 2010 towards a greater emphasis on the national perspective on security. This in turn has led to an increased focus on the issue of civil defense. The aim of civil defense is to ensure that a nation can cope with situations entailing an escalated national preparedness level. Within civil defense, the goal of protecting the civilian population is fundamental. Even though the probability of an armed conflict in Sweden is considered to be low, the planning to protect civilians must be resumed. However, it is unclear what protecting the civilian population means in a Swedish context since the issue has not been reviewed and studied in Sweden in recent decades. This report provides an overall description of the state of knowledge for the area of protecting the civilian population. The report presents results of a comprehensive literature study where approximately 300 documents, published in the period ranging from 1961 to 2016, have been mapped and described. The literature is analyzed based on five focus areas: threats, vulnerabilities, consequences, capability and/or resilience and measures. The study defines "protecting the civilian population" as eliminating or minimizing the consequences of an armed attack on the life and health of the civilian population. Consequences on life and health include - in this case - both physical and psychological impacts, and the focus is primarily on the impacts and survival on the site(s) of an armed attack. The target group for this report is anyone with an interest in forming an overall understanding of the state of knowledge and research within the area of "protecting the civilian population". The results can be used, for instance, as a basis for discussions of future studies and research calls.