Threats and vulnerabilities that affect Sweden’s national security

Authoritarian states are strengthening their positions

Certain foreign powers pose a high threat to Sweden’s security. Not only Russia, but also China and Iran, still pose the greatest threat in this regard. In recent years, authoritarian states have engaged in increasingly offensive activities. They are aggressive and use every resource available. The threat is further affected by the increased cooperation between authoritarian states.

Threats from certain foreign powers in the short and long term

Russia poses the greatest threat to Sweden. Russia’s actions cannot be predicted, and its regime is prone to take great risks. Russia has the capability to carry out attacks and to engage in sabotage. China too poses an increasing and long-term threat to Sweden. In addition, Iran poses a tangible threat to the security of Sweden.

Risk that Sweden’s total defence capability will be compromised

Vulnerabilities are increasing due to the rapid development of technology and the building up of Sweden’s total defence. An increasing number of entities fall within the scope of Sweden’s national security. Due to shortcomings in protective security however, Sweden’s total defence capability risks being compromised while it is being built up. Protective security measures should constitute a barrier against attacks.

Trust in the governance of Sweden is being undermined

Violent extremists are spreading encouragement to infiltrate or gain influence over various functional areas in Sweden. One of the aims of this could be to increase their own capability; another could be to affect decisions made by government authorities. Encouragement of infiltration could also be a way to undermine trust in the governance of Sweden.

Attack threats, and radicalisation

Recent developments have resulted in an increased attack threat. In addition, the extent of extremism is wide, fuelling violent extremism and affecting the attack threat. Potential attackers – often with unclear ideological motives, sometimes suffering from mental problems, and sometimes underage – are being radicalised online.

A shifting threat that is subject to change

Security-threatening activates are being carried out on an ongoing basis by foreign powers through e.g. unlawful intelligence activities, influence operations, and cyber attacks. Due to the concerning global situation, the threat is subject to change, where there could be quick shifts in foreign powers’ modus operandi and choice of targets, especially in the cyber arena.

Increased threat to democracy

Current global developments contributes to a wider constitutional threat. The spread of conspiracy theories and anti-government rhetoric is increasing. This could undermine trust in the institutions of society, politicians’ decisions, and the legitimacy of Sweden as a democratic system. This is something both violent extremists and certain foreign powers take advantage of.

Security-threatening procurement of technology

Certain foreign powers place extensive resources into procuring advanced technology in Sweden. One of the consequences of the current global situation and the war in Ukraine is that this has increased Russia’s need for technology in order to maintain its military capability. China and Iran as well are engaged in extensive procurement of technology and expertise, for example in the area of research.


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