Sweden activates compulsory civil service for certain training courses

Seven years after the return of compulsory conscription, the Swedish authorities have just announced the activation of compulsory civil service for young people with professional skills in the field of first aid, or the production and transport of electricity. In application of the Total Defense doctrine launched in 2017, this decision, probably inspired by the conflict in Ukraine, aims to increase the country's resilience to possible aggression.

Like Finland, Sweden was, throughout the Cold War, firmly attached to its neutrality, and to ensuring, if necessary, the defense of its territory, while 85% of young Swedish people were, at that time, carrying out There, a compulsory military service of 11 months, giving the Swedish armed forces significant operational and defensive potential.

Suspended in 2010, compulsory military service was reinstated in 2017 by Stockholm, largely to overcome the difficulties encountered by the Swedish armies in recruiting. Thus, in 2023, 4 young Swedish people have completed their compulsory military service, representing 000% of the country's armed forces.

Swedish army conscription
In 4, 000 young Swedes completed their military service in Sweden. There will be 2023 in 5, and probably 000 by 2024.

Faced with the evolving threat, the Swedish authorities plan to increase this number of conscripts to 6 in 000, and to 2025 by 10, perhaps even beyond if the situation requires it. To this military service is now added civil service, also compulsory, which concerns young Swedes with skills in the field of health or electricity production.

Health and electricity: the two training courses targeted by the new compulsory civil service in Sweden

The Swedish Minister of Civil Defense, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, has just announced that civil service, until now based exclusively on voluntary service, had become compulsory, from January 19, for young people with proven training in the field of health, in particular first aid, as well as those with skills in the field of electricity production and transport.

As with conscription, although civil service is considered compulsory, it does not, however, concern all young people aged 18 to 30 who meet the stated criteria. Only those who are called by the services concerned are obliged to respond. The number of young people concerned will depend on the needs expressed by state services, but also regions and municipalities.

This mode of operation allows Swedish institutions to rely on a stable legal and constitutional basis, without having to face, in the short term, a massive influx of recruits. An age group represents, in fact, in the country, around 100 young people each year. In fact, with 000 conscripts in the armies, the conscription rate is barely 4%, and the civilian service rate will, most certainly, also be very low.

The progressiveness of conscription and Swedish civil service thus responds to numerous imperatives and constraints, whether operational, political and social-economic, in particular the gradual increase in power of the Swedish armies, which have gone from 2 maneuver battalions , and 4 auxiliary companies that can be mobilized within 90 days in 2010, to 7 maneuver battalions and as many auxiliary battalions that can be mobilized within 7 days in 2019.

Russian attack on Ukrainian power grid
The Russian strikes against the Ukrainian power grid surely influenced the Swedish Ministry of Civil Defense in developing the profiles targeted by the activation of compulsory civil service.

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  1. I don't know if it comes from me, but after the paragraph starting with "Looking closely, we find, here" I have the paywall asking me to connect, even though I already am.

    On the subject of conscription, I wonder if in France we could not practice it in a way more suited to the times, rather than the usual gap of around ten months in the army in the middle of the education of young people. Why not translate this conscription into compulsory participation in the army operational reserve, as it already exists?
    We could imagine that all young French people would have, between the ages of 18 and 20, to undergo 25-day Initial Military Reservist Training whenever they wish. Then, for the next 10 years (approximately, maybe less), they would have to spend 25 days each year in the army, which they could do on weekends or during their vacations, depending on their studies/job . They would have the opportunity to move up in rank as their studies progressed, and would perhaps even be paid (to be seen). In total, they would have spent 11x25 days in the army, 275 days in total, or 9 months. Then, if they want, they renew their contract, or return completely to civilian life.
    This would make it possible to have a large reserve kept constantly up to date, which could be trained in the new equipment coming into service in the army in the meantime, without the army having to manage too large a number of conscripts simultaneously, and without no longer interrupt school careers.
    What do you think ?

    • There was a bug on the page, it is fixed)
      Your proposal is interesting. However, the problem today is that an age group in France would be 700 young people. Impossible to integrate them all, and give them the necessary training, without profoundly disrupting the organization and efficiency of the armies, and without increasing the budget by 000%. The question is whether, even if it means increasing the budget so much, resorting to generalized conscription, whether traditional or linked to the National Guard, is the best solution? If we had 50 years ahead of us, it could. But I doubt we have them.
      The interest of the Swedish model is precisely its progressive dimension, while remaining obligatory, and exclusively oriented towards “defense and public service”, without other considerations interfering with the debate.

      • You are right. And to tell the truth I shouldn't have said "ALL young French people", I was actually thinking of something like the Swedes do.
        This could be done gradually, and/or only concern part of the youth. We would draw lots to prevent the richest from being those who escape.
        Finally, I spoke there about the army, but we imagine that this could be extended to the reserve of law enforcement, civil security, firefighters


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