Chair of NATO Military Committee visits Sweden
From 31 August to 1 September 2022, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, visited Sweden at the invitation of its Supreme Commander, General Micael Bydén. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the cooperation between Sweden and NATO during the accession process and to gain more insights into Sweden’s military capabilities.
The Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer started his official visit by meeting the State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Robert Rydberg, and the State Secretary of Defence, Mr Jan-Olof Lind. The discussions focused on the current security environment and the respective plans implemented to safeguard Allied and national territory as well as ongoing contributions to shared security. Admiral Bauer added that “Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO will enable closer Baltic and Nordic defence cooperation; strengthen the Alliance’s presence in the High North and boost transatlantic security”.
Accompanied by General Bydén and the Deputy Chief Joint Operations, Major General Wikman, Admiral Bauer travelled to Northern Finland, where he was able to observe exercise Vigilant Knife. Upon arrival, the Admiral was greeted by General Timo Kivinen, the Finnish Chief of Defence. On just a few days’ notice, hundreds of Swedish troops journeyed to Northern Finland where they were placed under Finnish command and trained with Finnish and British troops. The goal was to sustain immediate readiness and capability for combined operating on demanding missions. All troops showed that they are highly capable of working together under the conditions prevalent in Northern Finland. Admiral Bauer: “Never before have Sweden and Finland exercised together at such extremely short notice. What impressed me most is the vigour, passion, professionalism and effectiveness of their armed forces. NATO Allies are proud to have Finland and Sweden as their closest operational partners. And we hope to welcome them soon to our Alliance.”
On the second day, Admiral Bauer met the Commander of the Norrbotten Air Force Wing, Colonel Edström, who briefed him on ongoing air activities, including rapid response units and the monitoring and protection of Swedish airspace. “The Swedish Air Force has participated in NATO quick reaction alert exercises for over a decade. On a weekly basis, Swedish fighters fly defensive air drills with NATO fighters to contribute to the security and stability over Europe, the Baltic Sea Region and the High North”, highlighted the Admiral.
Admiral Bauer then discussed the accession process with the Head of the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters Strategic Planning Group NATO, Major General Thomas Nilsson, and the Head of Policy and Plans Department, Major General Lena Persson Herlitz.
In a joint press conference with Swedish Chief of Defence, General Micael Bydén, Admiral Bauer addressed the ongoing accession protocol for Sweden to join NATO: “Sweden is one of NATO’s closest partners. We have been working together to strengthen our shared security, we share the same values and we have high interoperability. In parallel to the accession and ratification process, the preparations military integration process have also started. This means that Sweden is participating in meetings of the Military Committee as an invitee. We look forward to welcoming General Bydén at the Military Committee Conference in Tallinn on the 17th of September.”