This study evaluates Sweden’s potential contributions to the US concept of Integrated Deterrence in northern Europe as Sweden and Finland prepare to join the NATO alliance. Integrated Deterrence is a core principle in the Biden administration’s 2022 US National Defense Strategy; it argues that deterrence success requires that the US coordinate military and nonmilitary efforts across federal departments, domains, and the full spectrum of conflict, as well as incorporate “ally and partner perspectives, competencies, and advantages at every stage of defense planning.” Sweden, given its location, capabilities, and Total Defense mindset, could make important contributions to Integrated Deterrence along NATO’s northeast flank.
Our field research in Sweden and a scenario planning exercise with participants from across northern Europe and the United States suggest that for Sweden to contribute in a meaningful way, however, it must adapt its strategic culture and doctrine, enhance resilience to sub-threshold challenges, and prioritize NATO structures over other regional cooperation formats. At the same time, US policymakers should recognize that Sweden’s evolving capabilities and domestic political situation constrain the realm of the possible in the short-term and adapt US strategy accordingly. We conclude with thoughts on the future of Integrated Deterrence in northern and northeast Europe.
Read the article in full at the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies here.
Dr. Lisa Aronsson is a Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University.
Dr. David Auerswald is Professor of Security Studies at the US National War College and an Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow.
Dr. Jaclyn Kerr is Senior Research Fellow for Defense and Technology Futures at INSS and a Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Mr. Brett Swaney is an Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University.
The views expressed are the authors own and do not reflect those of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government