The Swedish Defence Conscription and Assessment Agency, is an agency within the total defence and reports to the Ministry of Defence.
The Swedish Defence Conscription and Assessment Agency is, like the Swedish Armed Forces, an authority that reports to the Swedish Ministry of Defence.
The agency's main task is, together with the Swedish Armed Forces, to staff the Swedish Military Defence. Our first part of making that possible is to inform, summon, muster, and enrol to the basic military training.
It is also our responsibility to fill the war-organisation with conscripts and employed personnel from the Swedish Armed Forces. The conscripts will, after completed and approved basic military training, be registered in their military position as part of the Swedish Armed Forces’ war-organisation.
For other agencies within the so called “total defence”, we perform tests and assessments for professions and educations with special requirements. For the Police authority is our task the assessment process for the admission to the police education.
We also support other agencies, including regions and municipalities, within the total defence when they staff their war organisation. This process starts with an availability check, to verify that the individuals are not already part of the Swedish Armed Forces war-organisation.
Around four million Swedes have fulfilled their duty since the Swedish parliament decided to introduce the mandatory conscription 1901. 1901 all 18-year-old men were summoned to muster and to do the mandatory basic military training.
On July 1st, 2010, the Swedish parliament decided to suspend the conscription system. The task of our authority was now to test only voluntary applicants for the Swedish Armed Forces' basic military training. When the parliament decided to suspend the conscription system it was also decided that the conscription should be gender neutral if, or when it was going to be re-activated again.
All individuals that have completed the basic military training are part of the war- organisation of the Swedish Armed Forces until the day they reach the age of 47 or a maximum of 10 years since their last enrolment for refresher training.
From the late 1990, the refresher training session for the conscripts had not been held. Which meant that the number of individuals in the Swedish Armed Forces’ war-organisation decreased annually. Therefore, the government decided 2014 to reintroduce the refresher training again to be able to keep the number of conscripts in the war organisation.
In 2015, the government decided on a special commission named “the manning system of the military workforces”. The purpose of the commission was to find solutions to reactivate the conscription system. The commission suggested a plan for the following years, implying a gradual increase in the number of conscripts. 5 000 in 2019, increasing to 8 000 in 2025.
On March 2nd, 2017, the Government decides to resume the now gender-neutral conscription system. 9th of October the same year, the mustering begins, and the first conscripts start their military training on January 8th, 2018.
The conscription system is part of the legal duty that we have in Sweden to contribute to what is called the total defence. The law begins with the sentence “the total defence is a concern for the entire population of Sweden”.
The meaning of the total defence is that if you live in Sweden, from the age of 16 until 70, you can be summoned to assist in various ways in the event of threat of war or in war. This legal duty is gender-neutral and the duty to contribute to Sweden’s total defence has three forms and one of them is the conscription system.
There are three types of total defence service:
- The military service, which means that the 18-year-olds, that are selected by our agency are obligated to muster and to enrol in the basic military training.
- The civilian service, which is a non-military service. The civilian service is still suspended since 2010, but a commission has recommended to reintroduce the civilian service again. The civilian service will also affect our agency since the law says that they must muster and enrol to the training for the civilian service as well.
- The third is the so-called general compulsory national service, which only applies in the event of a heightened state of alert or war. In short, it means that you should go to your ordinary work if the government has not stated any other tasks for you.
The Information Assignment
According to the Total Defence Service Act, our authority has an information assignment to inform all individuals, who will turn 18, about their rights and obligations regarding mustering, the mandatory conscription system, and the right to be unarmed.
Before we start the yearly information assignment, we do a survey, to find what knowledge the youths have about the conscription. At the end of the communication assignment, we do the same survey, to see if they have gained knowledge due to our communication. Based on the result of the different surveys we then develop the yearly information campaign.
Since we have a young target group it is important to be at their arena - in social media. We combine analogue information with a digital campaign. The purpose is to get their attention that the enrolment questionnaire is coming and also give them the knowledge they need during the whole mustering process.
The result from the survey states that they also like to get something in their traditional mailbox. Therefore, we produced the “Mustering Handbook”. The individuals that will muster get the handbook and can then prepare themselves for the mustering.
We strive to emphasize to both men and women that the conscription is personally developing and meritorious, but also that it is a life changing experience where you can make friends for life. At the same time, we must be clear in our information that it is not everybody right to do it, but an obligation for the ones that are summoned.
Christina Malm is the Director General and the agency's around 300 employees are located in four cities: in Karlstad (headquarter), and the test facilities in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg.