May 9, 2018
Peter Hultqvist, Minister of Defense for Sweden
Swedish Minister for Defense Peter Hultqvist visited the school to offer insight on Sweden’s defense policies and the security issues of the Baltic region. The discussion was moderated by Professor of Strategic Studies Thomas Rid.
Considering Finland’s agreement with the Soviet Union and Norway’s membership in NATO post-World War II, Sweden pursued a stance of non-alignment while upgrading its own military. Today, despite current Swedish perception that the country is safe and they do not feel immediately threatened by their neighbors, Hultqvist emphasized the continuous preparation undertaken by Sweden’s government to improve national capabilities and develop security cooperation and interoperability strategies with international actors and organizations, especially in the transatlantic region. In particular, he highlights the procurement of submarines and ground-based air defense and reactivation of conscription to deal with potential flash-points in the Baltic Sea; while at the same time deepening bilateral and multilateral interoperability tactics with Finland, the Baltic republics and the US to tackle not just naval security but also terrorist threats similar to the Paris attacks.
Hultqvist also discussed efforts to mitigate the effects of social media on undermining Sweden’s political system, after sharing a personal experience where his signature was used in a fake letter that a Swedish company sold weapons to Ukraine. He further elaborated on Sweden’s active cyber status which is developing defense systems and leadership of state authorities to handle cyberattacks.