It’s not quite accurate to say that bureaucrats will do anything to protect budgets, as the relationship between turf, autonomy, resources, and organizational behavior is complex. Nevertheless, as a general first guess it’s usually not wrong to believe that bureaucrats will significantly stretch reality in order to defend their access to resources. Senior military officers (bureaucrats in uniform) will consequently say and do all manner of things in order to protect budgets; dramatically withdrawing an aircraft carrier from deployment, making dire warnings about the impact of mild cuts to the biggest defense budget in the history of the world, etc. In general, it’s best not to get too irritated about such things, because it is, after all, part of the job of a bureaucrat to protect his or her organization. In that vein, and to remind us that resource-driven threat inflation is not a peculiarly American phenomenon, I offer this:
Military experts said Sweden was probably unable to defend itself on its own in the event of an invasion, in a report published Thursday, saying the armed forces lacked necessary resources.
“Can We Defend Ourselves For a Week?” the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences asked in the title of its report.
Sweden is not a member of NATO and has a policy of military non-alliance, though it does participate in the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program.
The report echoed comments made by Sweden’s chief of the armed forces, Sverker Goeranson, in the media in early January, when he said the Scandinavian country would be able to hold off an attack for only “about a week” following repeated cuts to the defense budget. Goeranson has been on sick leave for exhaustion since making his remarks.
The academy’s study, conducted in 2011 and 2012, supported his analysis of the situation.
“We think the military does not have a credible ability to defend all of Sweden … In the event of a possible attack against Sweden, we would always need help from abroad,” it wrote. “We think that the authorities should rapidly carry out a study on the conditions and possibilities of obtaining such assistance so that any potential crisis in the Baltic region can quickly be resolved, thereby avoiding any act of war from being undertaken.”
If you’re wondering “who is planning to invade Sweden?”, let me remind you that the Finns are never, ever to be trusted.