Scandinavian Security and Intelligence: The European Union, the WEU, and NATO

By Weller, Geoffrey R. | Scandinavian Studies, Spring 1998 | Go to article overview

Scandinavian Security and Intelligence: The European Union, the WEU, and NATO


Weller, Geoffrey R., Scandinavian Studies


This paper analizes the evolving nature of Scandinavian security and intelligence in the era after the Second World War. The argument is made that during this period Scandinavia was so strategically placed that a great deal of intelligence activity occurred in the region. This activity was mainly Soviet related and somewhat divided as a consequence of Finland and Sweden being officially neutral and Denmark and Norway being members of NATO. However, behind the scenes, the neutral states assisted the Scandinavian NATO members and other NATO nations in intelligence matters. The argument is then made that many recent developments have markedly changed the situation in Scandinavia. These developments include the break up of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the entry of Sweden and Finland into the European Union, the rise of more varied forms of terrorism, and the rise of a broader definition of the concept of security--one that includes such matters as transnational crime and economic security. Finally, it is argued that these changes have affected the intelligence agencies of the Scandinavian nations in ways that open up the possibility of closer and more open cooperation between them, between them and the Baltic States, and between them and the security elements of the European Union, the Western European Union (WEU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO

THE SCANDINAVIAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES

Relatively little is publicly known about the Scandinavian security and intelligence agencies. Even a standard listing of the world's intelligence agencies, the Intelweb list, is clearly incomplete for the Nordic countries. It indicates that three of the nations maintain military intelligence services. These are the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS), Norwegian Military Intelligence (NMI), and the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Agency (MUST). Sweden is currently reorganizing its military intelligence structure, and it is reported that by July 1, 1998 a joint Intelligence and Security Center of the Armed Forces (FMUSC) will be created in Uppsala under the command of the Chief of the Air Force (Swedish Armed Forces, 1996: 1). Finland is not listed by the Intelweb fist as having a military intelligence service.

The Intelweb agency list indicates that non-military intelligence is under the direction of several different agencies. In Denmark it lists the Danish Civil Security Service (DCSS) and the Danish Police Intelligence Services. For Sweden, it lists the Security Police (SAPO). No equivalent agencies are mentioned for Norway or Finland. However, in Norway there is the Norwegian Police Security Service (POT) and in Finland there is the Security Police.

Signals intelligence has been an important component of Scandinavian intelligence activities. The Intelweb list names only one such agency, the Finnish Communications Experience Facility (VKL). However, in Sweden, the National Defence Radio Institute (FRA) is a signals intelligence unit (SOU 1994: 16), and Norway and Denmark have signals intelligence capability.

The Scandinavian security and intelligence agencies are relatively modest in size compared with many other nations. The Norwegian Police Security Service, for example, has a strength of 160 at its Oslo headquarters (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway Daily 244/96: 1), and the Norwegian Armed Forces Intelligence Service has an annual budget of NOK 387,748 million or about 1.5% of the total defence budget (Norwegian Ministry of Defence 1996: 23). However, relative to the populations, the Scandinavian countries' investment is proportional to that of many other nations. Moreover, for small nations, they maintain a wide range of military intelligence, signals intelligence, and civilian intelligence capabilities.

Although this paper deals with the post-war era, it is worth noting that historically the Scandinavian intelligence services have had a continuing focus on the Soviet Union dating back to the 1917 revolution. …

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