Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces

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Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
Högkvarteret vapen.svg
Armed Forces Headquarters coat of arms
U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Sverker Goranson.jpg
General Sverker Göranson

since 25 March 2009
Swedish Armed Forces
Reports to The Government
Residence Karlberg Palace
Seat Lidingövägen 24, Stockholm, Sweden
Nominator Minister for Defence
Appointer The Government
Precursor None; there was no single chief of the military forces other than the King
Formation 8 December 1939
First holder Olof Thörnell
Deputy The Director-General
Website Official website

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.

The Supreme Commander is, apart from the honorary ranks held by King of Sweden and in the past other members of the Swedish Royal Family, by unwritten convention normally the only military officer to hold the highest rank of the services (a four-star General or Admiral).

The present Supreme Commander, General Sverker Göranson, took office on 25 March 2009.

Historical background

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 and Charles XII. This remained the case formally until the 1930s.

In 1936, a Supreme Commander other than the King 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 1975, and after that to the Government.

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.

List of Officeholders

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.

# Rank and name Branch Term began Term ended
1 General Olof Thörnell Army 8 December 1939 31 March 1944
2 General Helge Jung Army 1 April 1944 31 March 1951
3 General Nils Swedlund Army 1 April 1951 30 September 1961
4 General Torsten Rapp Air Force 1 October 1961 30 September 1970
5 General Stig Synnergren Army 1 October 1970 30 September 1978
6 General Lennart Ljung Army 1 October 1978 30 September 1986
7 General Bengt Gustafsson Army 1 October 1986 30 June 1994
8 General Owe Wiktorin Air Force 1 July 1994 30 June 2000
9 General Johan Hederstedt Army 1 July 2000 31 December 2003
10 General Håkan Syrén Navy 1 January 2004 24 March 2009
11 General Sverker Göranson Army 25 March 2009 Incumbent


Sverker Göranson Håkan Syrén Johan Hederstedt Owe Wiktorin Bengt Gustafsson (general) Lennart Ljung (general) Stig Synnergren Torsten Rapp Nils Swedlund Helge Jung Olof Thörnell

See also


External links

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