Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
|Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
Command flag of the Supreme Commander
|Swedish Armed Forces|
|Reports to||The Government|
(in practice through the Minister for Defence)
|Seat||Lidingövägen 24, Stockholm, Sweden|
|Nominator||Minister for Defence|
|Constituting instrument||Förordning (2007:1266) med instruktion för Försvarsmakten |
|Formation||8 December 1939|
|First holder||Olof Thörnell|
The Supreme Commander (Swedish: Överbefälhavaren; acronym: ÖB) is the highest ranked professional military officer in the Swedish Armed Forces, and is by NATO terminology the Swedish chief of defence equivalent. The Supreme Commander is the agency head of the Swedish Armed Forces and formally reports to the Government of Sweden, though normally through the Minister for Defence.[b] The primary responsibilities and duties of the Supreme Commander (and the charter for the Armed Forces) are prescribed in an ordinance issued by the Government.
The Supreme Commander is, apart from the honorary ranks held by the King of Sweden and in the past other members of the Swedish Royal Family, by unwritten convention normally the only professional military officer on active duty to hold the highest rank (a four-star General or Admiral). An exception was made 2009-2014 when Håkan Syrén was chairman of the European Union Military Committee.
Before the modern era, the King was expected to command the forces himself; not seldom on location during war campaigns as shown by Gustavus Adolphus, Charles X, Charles XI and Charles XII. This remained the case formally until the 20th century. From the late 19th century onwards, there were no service chiefs of the Army or Navy; all senior service commanders reported directly to the King in Council. Apart from a single Minister for Defence created in 1919 by merging the position of ministers of the land forces and naval forces, no joint command structure existed.
In 1936, a Supreme Commander was intended to be appointed in war-time-only, and on 1 December 1939, during World War II, the first Supreme Commander, General Olof Thörnell, was appointed. In 1942 it was decided to keep this office even after the end of the war. The Supreme Commander would in wartime formally report to the King in Council until the enactment of the new Instrument of Government in 1974, and after 1 January 1975 to the Government.
The command flag of the Supreme Commander is drawn by Brita Grep and embroidered by hand by the Kedja studio, Heraldica. Blazon: "Fessed in blue and yellow; on blue three open yellow crowns placed two and one, on yellow two blue batons of command with sets of open yellow crowns placed two and one in saltire."
The coat of arms of the Supreme Commander was used from 1991 to 1993. It has since 1993 been used by the Swedish Armed Forces and was used from 1994 to 2001 by the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters. Blazon: "Azure, the Swedish minor coat-of-arms, three open crowns or placed two and one. The shield surmounting an erect sword of the last colour".
List of Supreme Commanders
|No.||Name||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Defence branch||Ref|
|8 December 1939||31 March 1944||4 years, 114 days|
|1 April 1944||31 March 1951||6 years, 364 days|
|1 April 1951[c]||30 September 1961||10 years, 182 days|
|1 October 1961||30 September 1970||8 years, 364 days|
|1 October 1970||30 September 1978||7 years, 364 days|
|1 October 1978||30 September 1986||7 years, 364 days|
|1 October 1986||30 June 1994||7 years, 272 days|
|1 July 1994||30 June 2000||5 years, 365 days|
|1 July 2000||31 December 2003||3 years, 184 days|
|1 January 2004||24 March 2009||5 years, 82 days|
|25 March 2009||30 September 2015||6 years, 189 days|
|1 October 2015||Incumbent||4 years, 73 days|
Every time a new Supreme Commander is to be appointed, there is some debate between the different services. Some feel that some kind of rotational system would be appropriate. In actuality, most Supreme Commanders have come from the Army, and only one, Håkan Syrén, from the Navy. Because he is a General of the Amphibious Corps, there has to this day not been a single Admiral to hold the office.
List of Deputy Supreme Commanders
In conjunction with the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters reorganization in 1998, a special position was created as Deputy Supreme Commander to relieve the Supreme Commander. The Deputy Supreme Commander led the Headquarters work through coordination of the operations. He also exercised employer responsibility for the staff in the Headquarters. In order to coordinate the operations he had a Coordination Department. The Deputy Supreme Commander also acted as the Duputy Agency Executive (Ställföreträdande myndighetschef). A formal position of head of the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters was established in 2002.
|No.||Name||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Defence branch||Ref|
- Lord High Admiral of Sweden (historical antecedent)
- Lord High Constable of Sweden (historical antecedent)
- There was no single career officer in charge of the all the forces before the creation of this position (all senior service commanders reported directly to the King and his Council).
- Although the Minister for Defence heads the Ministry of Defence, the Minister cannot as a general rule issue directives in his/her own right to the Supreme Commander or any other agency director-general in the defence portfolio due to the Swedish prohibition on ministerial rule, unless such authority is provided for in specific statutory provisions.
- Appointed on 26 January 1951.
- "Överbefälhavaren" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
- "Supreme Commander". Swedish Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
- "Förordning (2007:1266) med instruktion för Försvarsmakten" (in Swedish). Swedish Code of Statutes. Retrieved 2014-10-24 – via www.notisum.se.
- "Överbefälhavare i historien" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
- Braunstein 2004, p. 105
- Braunstein 2006, p. 13
- Zetterberg 2014, p. 542
- Mortensen, Per (2000-05-06). "DN gratulerar: Stridspilot blir landsvägsriddare". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 28 April 2017.
- "Johan Hederstedt avgår som ÖB vid årsskiftet". Expressen (in Swedish). TT. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
- "Sverker Göranson blir ny överbefälhavare" [Sverker Göranson becomes new Supreme Commander] (Press release) (in Swedish). Government Offices of Sweden. Ministry of Defence. 6 March 2009. p. 615. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Micael Bydén ny ÖB" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- Johansson 1998
- "Nya högkvarteret" (PDF). Flygvapennytt (in Swedish). Stockholm: Flygstaben (2): 4. 1998. LIBRIS 8257600.
- Försvarsberedningen 2004, p. 131
- Salander Mortensen 1996, p. 392
- Andersson 2016, p. 34
- Andersson, Björn (2016). Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademien: Svenska krigsmanna sällskapet (till 1805), Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademien : 20 år med akademien och dess ledamöter 1996-2016 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Kungl. Krigsvetenskapsakademien. ISBN 9789198087888. LIBRIS 20033514.
- Braunstein, Christian (2004). Svenska försvarsmaktens fälttecken efter millennieskiftet [The flags and standards of the Swedish Armed Forces after the turn of the millennium] (PDF). Skrift / Statens försvarshistoriska museer, 1101-7023 ; 7 [dvs 8] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statens försvarshistoriska museer. ISBN 978-91-971584-7-3. LIBRIS 9815350.
- Braunstein, Christian (2006). Heraldiska vapen inom det svenska försvaret [Heraldry of the Swedish Armed Forces] (PDF). Skrift / Statens försvarshistoriska museer, 1101-7023 ; 9 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statens försvarshistoriska museer. ISBN 91-971584-9-6. LIBRIS 10099224.
- Johansson, Bengt-Arne (1998). "Det nya Högkvarteret". Vårt försvar: tidskrift (in Swedish). Stockholm: Allmänna försvarsföreningen. 109 (3). LIBRIS 3430365. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
- Salander Mortensen, Jill, ed. (1996). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1997 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1997] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. ISBN 91-1-960852-7. LIBRIS 3681533.
- Zetterberg, Kent (2014). "Nils Per Robert Swedlund". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (in Swedish). 34. National Archives of Sweden. p. 542. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Försvarsberedningen (2004). Försvar för en ny tid: försvarspolitisk rapport. Ds : departementsserien, 0284-6012 ; 2004:30 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Försvarsdepartementet, Regeringskansliet. ISBN 91-38-22167-5. LIBRIS 9534949.
- Official website (in Swedish)