Swedish Home Guard Deliberates Future Challenges at National Assembly

The forthcoming NATO membership, the crisis in Ukraine, and the indispensable role of the Home Guard (Hemvärnet) in Sweden’s defense took center stage at the 2023 National Home Guard Assembly held in Gävle from November 10 to 12. Hundreds of elected Home Guard soldiers from across the country convened to discuss the trajectory of Sweden’s military capabilities.

Prominent figures including Defense Minister Pål Jonson, Supreme Commander Micael Bydén, and Defense Committee Chairman Peter Hultqvist addressed the assembly, underscoring the imminent Swedish NATO membership and the ongoing situation in Ukraine, while emphasizing the crucial role played by the Home Guard.

“I want to emphasize that the government genuinely appreciates the work that the Home Guard does. Whether it’s search operations, military exercises, or the training of Ukrainian soldiers, you invest time and energy alongside your regular work. I extend a big thank you to all of you,” stated Defense Minister Pål Jonsson.

The assembly also featured a panel discussion with Supreme Commander Micael Bydén, Defense Minister Pål Jonson, and Peter Hultqvist, Chairman of the Defense Committee.

Supreme Commander Micael Bydén praised the unique character of the Home Guard, highlighting its high readiness. “The high readiness, the hallmark of the Home Guard, is absolutely necessary and will continue to be so. When I meet you in the field, I am struck by the enormous potential in the civilian skills of Home Guard soldiers. There is nothing that builds trust in the Armed Forces better than when we operate and are visible, above the surface and all the time,” said Bydén.

The National Home Guard Assembly serves as the highest decision-making body in the Home Guard’s participatory system, contributing to the organization’s development. This year’s assembly, hosted by the Middle Military Region, tackled 114 proposals and questions concerning the Home Guard nationwide.

“Once again, the National Home Guard Assembly highlights the tremendous dedication within the Home Guard. As our military, like the rest of the Armed Forces, faces significant changes, participation becomes crucial. This was my first assembly as the National Home Guard Chief and Chair. I am very grateful for the time and hard work that our volunteers invest in making the Home Guard even better,” expressed National Home Guard Chief Laura Swaan Wrede. The assembly takes place every two years, with responsibility for the event rotating among military regions.