Debate

Reduced COXNUMX emissions do not protect against military attacks

The increased focus on new types of threats in defense and security policy results in a distorted debate. Although threats such as climate change are urgent, investments in them must be seen as a complement to the military defense, and not something to replace it. That is the opinion of Sanna Moberg and Stefan Olsson from the think tank Frivärld in a reply.

In the defense and security policy debate, there is an increasing focus on the broadened security agenda. More and more threats are being identified as problems for national security, such as global warming, pandemics and disturbances in the global economy. Of course, it is important to consider all potential threats to our security, but how meaningful is it to have a security concept that covers almost anything?

At the National and Defense National Conference in Sälen in 2014, the broadened security agenda was debated. A plethora of different approaches were presented and it became clear that we have difficulty agreeing on what the terms "security" and "security threat" mean.

One of the speakers who excelled was the Green Party's spokesman Åsa Romson. She argued that there needs to be a shift in emphasis in the discussion of Swedish and European security policy, from military threats, to focusing more on other types of security threats. She said that it was important to place greater emphasis on international efforts and preventive peace work and that large parts of the defense budget should be redirected and put on other types of threats. Romson said that in order to meet a modern threat picture, we must redistribute within the Ministry of Defense's overall budget to match the broadened threat picture.

But what does that mean more concretely? Well, according to the Green Party, SEK 1,5 billion should be transferred from the military defense to, for example, development assistance and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). 300 million should be transferred directly to MSB for the work on climate adaptation because Sweden, according to Romson, is facing enormous climate-related challenges.

Furthermore, Romson claimed that too much of the defense budget goes to the purchase of JAS plans, while too little goes to work on peace and security. She said that the purchase of fighter jets is not an economically meaningful deal and that we should use the money to deal with global climate threats instead.

The argument is strange to say the least. Of course, it is important that we also focus on other threats, in addition to military, but for that matter, we can not stop investing resources in dealing with military threats. A JAS plan cannot be set off against solar cells or any other climate investment. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions cannot protect us against a possible military attack.

The defense is already very weak today. The erosion of the Swedish defense capability has been going on for a long time and is the result of a series of unhappily formulated defense decisions. The Armed Forces currently has a budget of approximately SEK 41 billion. According to the Armed Forces, this is at least SEK 4 billion too low, per year, for the defense to be able to achieve the goals that the Riksdag has decided on. It is a problem, a problem that we will not solve by redistributing even more resources from the defense to other areas.

The increased focus on the broadened security agenda easily results in a distorted debate, a debate in which military initiatives tend to be seen as equivalent to initiatives to address other threats. These threats may be so urgent, but what is important to remember is that a broader focus and initiatives adapted to deal with more threats must be seen as a complement to the military defense, not as something we should invest in instead.

Stefan Olsson has a PhD in political science and works as head of the think tank Frivärld.

Sanna Moberg studies at the program for Peace and Development Studies at Uppsala University and does an internship at Frivärld.

 

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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