NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO’s Newest Member: Sweden Strengthens Alliance with Full Military Integration Achieved

April 26, 2024

STOCKHOLM, Sweden. Following the political accession process which completed last month, Sweden’s formal military integration process into the NATO Alliance was finalized yesterday when General Philippe Lavigne, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and the Swedish Chief of Defence, General Micael Bydén, signed the Joint Declaration. This signifies that the Swedish Armed Forces are not only prepared, but are fully involved, in all aspects of NATO as the Alliance’s thirty-second member.

Instrumental to today’s milestone was NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, led by General Lavigne. His command serves as the engine of NATO’s military adaptation, ensuring seamless cooperation between member states. Recognizing Sweden’s application for membership in May 2022, Allied Command Transformation established the Sweden Accession and Integration Working Group in July 2022. This dedicated team spearheaded the integration process, focusing on ten critical functional areas. Their efforts streamlined Sweden’s road to operational readiness within the Alliance.

To mark Sweden’s official military integration into NATO, a Joint Declaration Signing Ceremony was held at the prestigious Military Academy Karlberg in Stockholm. General Lavigne and General Bydén signed a joint declaration which was witnessed by Swedish Defence Minister, Mr. Pål Jonson. This ceremony capped a cooperative journey for both Sweden and the Alliance.

Referencing Sweden’s accession and integration during his remarks at the signing ceremony, General Lavigne shared: “Following political membership, the time comes for military integration in NATO. Thanks to 30 years of close cooperation with the Alliance, and the great work done in the Accession and Integration Working Group led by NATO Allied Command Transformation, the Swedish Armed Forces are already interoperable with the rest of the 31 Allies. This successful and rapid integration process is a testament to Sweden’s long-standing commitment to collective security in Europe, and beyond.”

General Bydén also provided his remarks at the signing ceremony, noting “we are proud to assume the responsibilities as a NATO member and do not take them lightly. From the very first moment as an ally we have been part of NATO’s deterrence, the collective defence and naturally a part of the defence planning. With the Final Integration Conference here today we are emphasizing a very important step in our integration into NATO.”

While the formal process is complete, Sweden’s military integration will be an ongoing endeavour. Continued efforts will ensure the highest levels of interoperability between Swedish and NATO forces in critical areas like equipment standardization, force structure alignment, and robust cyber defences. This ongoing commitment guarantees that Swedish forces can seamlessly operate alongside their NATO counterparts in any future security operation.

Sweden’s accession to NATO reflects the evolving security landscape in Europe, particularly following Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine. Sweden’s long history of cooperation with NATO, fostered through programmes like the Partnership for Peace, makes this membership a natural progression. With Sweden now fully integrated into the Alliance’s military structure, both parties emerge more prepared to address the complex security challenges of the 21st century and makes both Sweden and NATO stronger and safer, together.