På egen hand i nationens tjänst


  • Per Wikberg
  • Charlotte Stenius
  • Magdalena Granåsen

Publish date: 2019-06-27

Report number: FOI-R--4632--SE

Pages: 74

Written in: Swedish


  • interview
  • veteran
  • individual assignment
  • Armed Forces
  • international missions


In addition to the contribution of military units to international missions, the Swedish Armed Forces also contributes with individual assignments, where individuals act as observers, advisors, personnel instructors, etc. There is a lack of a comprehensive follow-up of these individual assignments. Thus, the Armed Forces has initiated three studies; a register study, a survey study and an interview study, all three focusing on the experiences and consequences of individual assignments undertaken during 1990-2015. The purpose was to improvement of the Armed Forces' support and follow-up of this type of missions. This report is based on the interview study. The interview study had an exporative approach. Based on a random sampling of individuals, 20 interviews were conducted. The respondents described their experiences with regard to their career, family, individual development and other issues. Statements with similar content were sorted into a list of categories, which then formed the basis for a summary of the respondents' experiences. The results imply that the reason for applying for individual assignments often is a part of a life project. Support from family members is important, and almost half of the respondents had brought their family with them. Almost everyone had also done more than one single assignment. The preparations were experienced as sufficient but could be improved. Preparations for potential cultural differences is a challenge. There were different views on how the contact with the Armed Forces worked during the assignment; some were satisfied while others were dissatisfied. In general, traffic was considered a greater risk than the actual conflict in the area of action. Many would also appreciate a mentoring system. Contact with other Swedes was shown to be valuable, even if there was no national camp. The long service time and limited contact with family members put a strain on the respondents' relationships. Alcohol was reported to occasionally pose a risk, both on an individual level and also on an operational safety level. The reception and reporting after completion of the mission were experienced in different ways; some wanted to go home to their family straight away, whereas others found it positive to report first. Most of the participants would consider an individual assignment again. It is recommended that debriefing becomes a part of the assignment, presumably in the mission area or close by, rather than after arrival in Sweden. In addition, the Armed Forces should make better use of the experiences of those who have been on individual assignments, for instance, by training others or acting as mentors. It is also important to emphasize the significance of international missions through symbolic actions such as medal awards, veteran days, etc.

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