The King and The Crown Princess visited the Swedish Defence University
War games and roundtable discussions were on the agenda as the university leadership, along with a prominent group of researchers, experts and officers, received the King and Crown Princess during their visit on January 16th.
Vice-Chancellor Robert Egnell welcomed and offered a brief tour before updating the King and the Crown Princess on the Swedish Defence University's role in the development of total defence and our initiative for the establishment of a Total Defence Campus.
"We are in constant change and development, and it has shaped us into where we are today", said Principal Robert Egnell.
The conversation covered everything from the school's ongoing development and the need to expand, to our international exchange, where the King expressed interest in our collaboration with King's College in London and our growing number of international students.
Increasing need for officers
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Anders Callert spoke about the need to increase officer training and the challenges that the Swedish Defence University faces in the current global context, the threat perception we have, and the needs arising from the upcoming NATO membership.
"It is both a joy and a challenge to increase the number of places in the Officers' Programme. And current figures show that the number of applicants to the programme is increasing for the second consecutive year", said Anders Callert.
Outlook on the war in Ukraine and the Israeli-Hamas conflict
In the first roundtable discussion that followed, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Malena Britz moderated. The focus of the discussion was the current situation in the world with the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas conflict and how it affects Sweden's total defence. Niklas Nilsson, Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in War Studies, Marcus Rosened, alumnus of the Senior Officer Programme, Charlotte Wagnsson, Professor of Political Science and Anders Ekholm, PhD student in War Studies, participated in the continued discussions on challenges and opportunities related to the build-up of Sweden's total defence.
Research, innovations and the build-up of total defence
Session two focused on how we can think in new ways for Sweden's total defence. Here, current research related to innovation was presented, with a highly topical example where Peter Bovet Emanuel, doctoral student in war studies, has developed two AI models for military decision support. Other participating experts were Jan Ångström, Professor of War Studies. Fredrik Bynander, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Societal Security (CTSS) and Ingrid Kihlander, Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management.
The King and The Crown Princess took part with engaging questions about the structure of total defence, challenges in cooperation between different regions in Sweden, and the war in Ukraine and the Israeli-Hamas conflict.
Royal visit to the gaming room at the Swedish Defence University
The visit concluded with a visit to the gaming room, where the King and the Crown Princess gained insight into how exercises and games are used as educational methods in both civilian and military training. On that day, four students from the Senior Officer Programme were playing the game "The Battle of Kyiv."
"We are playing the ongoing war to get a sense of what is happening in Ukraine right now, instead of playing historical battles," explained Lars Henåker, military teacher and game master.
He mentioned that a game session usually takes up to eight hours, but the King and the Crown Princess received a quick tutorial and didn't hesitate to make moves for each team.
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