Packed CBRNE Days with a Focus on Total Defense in Sweden

The annual CBRNE days conference, organized by the Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI), Totalförsvarets skyddscentrum, and Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap (MSB), took place recently with a focus on total defense and Sweden’s ability to handle CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) events.

The conference, held every year, serves as a platform for national stakeholders in the field to convene and discuss current and relevant developments in CBRNE. This year’s emphasis was on total defense and Sweden’s capability to manage CBRNE events.

Key highlights of the event included:

  • Prominent Speakers: Försvarsmaktens generaldirektör Mikael Granholm, Dr. Wendin D. Smith (Chief of NATO’s Department of Arms Control and Disarmament), and Minister for Civil Defense Carl-Oskar Bohlin were among the distinguished speakers.
  • Theme – “Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best”: The conference centered around the theme of planning for the worst-case scenarios while maintaining optimism. Topics covered included the responsibilities and role distribution in total defense during war, civilian defense from a county administrative board perspective, and CBRNE capabilities in today’s preparedness system.
  • Civil Defense vs. Total Defense: Speakers highlighted the distinction between civil crisis preparedness and total defense. Civil crisis preparedness aims to protect lives and reduce the risk of accidents during crises, focusing on the affected region’s responsibilities. In contrast, total defense prioritizes activities needed to prepare Sweden for war, involving the coordination of various entities.
  • NATO’s CBRN Policy: Dr. Wendin D. Smith presented NATO’s CBRN policy, discussing implementation possibilities and challenges in the context of a potential Swedish NATO membership.
  • Increased Collaboration: Försvarsmaktens generaldirektör Mikael Granholm emphasized the need for close collaboration between military and civilian defense, acknowledging that both are crucial in responding to CBRNE threats.

Over 250 individuals actively involved in CBRNE-related work or research attended the conference, highlighting the shared recognition of the importance of collaboration in addressing CBRNE threats.

Colonel Thomas Lamke, the host of CBRNE days from SkyddC, expressed satisfaction with the conference, emphasizing its critical role in disseminating knowledge, presenting new research, and conveying political messages to ensure Sweden’s credible protection against CBRNE threats.

The event concluded with a strong call for individual and collective readiness to reduce and, if necessary, remediate CBRNE threats, recognizing the heightened CBRN threat environment.