Sweden to Achieve 2.6% GDP Defense Spending, Shaming Longtime NATO Members Who Have Missed Mark for Years

On March 7th, 2024, Sweden officially joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance after an almost two-year debate among members, namely Turkey and Hungary. Today, the Swedish Defense Commission recommended to the government that the defense spending be increased to 2.6% of the country’s GDP. According to Bloomberg, the government is set to accept this proposal and implement the findings.

The Proposal

The recommendation from the commission’s study on Swedish military readiness reads below:

  • prioritization of two brigades, aiming to have three mechanized brigades and one infantry brigade by 2030.
  • formation of a Norrland Infantry Regiment in the war-time organization
  • an increased conscription level, from the current level of 8,000 to 10,000 in 2030 and 12000 in 2032, with consideration of a further increased conscription level to 14 000 in 2035.
  • increased availability of personnel in the Swedish Royal Navy to increase operational capability.
  • increased air defense capability, in order to counter unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • additional procurement of essential supplies, such as ammunition including air-to-air and cruise missiles, and spare parts.
  • new military units for territorial defense, organized as 20 companies and platoons.
  • more refresher trainings for conscripts to meet the war-time organization’s requirements.
  • increased funding of voluntary defense organizations; and
  • expansion of the officer education program.

Outshining Long-term Members

In terms of cost, the report also says that the defense spending will increase beginning in 2025, “so that in 2030 it will amount to a total of SEK 52.8 billion, of which SEK 20 billion is made up by the Defense Commissions proposal.” This will bring Swedish military spending to about 2.6% of the GDP, outpacing NATO allies that have been part of the alliance since its conception. Currently, only 11 member states meet the 2.0% threshold: Poland, the United States, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, the United Kingdom, and Slovakia.

Swedish defense spending as % of GDP. Credit: Statista.
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.


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