Since the late spring of 2022, Olle Mobergh, Sweden's representative to the NATO Act, and his colleagues have been working to weld together the Swedish Armed Forces with all of NATO's systems and procedures. The office is located at NATO's base in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
The hardest part has been to get Swedes to understand the most fundamental transition.
"Instead of Sweden defending Sweden, we are part of an alliance, one country of 32. This means a shift in focus for Swedes in general and the Armed Forces in particular," he says.
Mobergh: A deluge of information
But it's not just the Armed Forces that need to change. The Coast Guard, the Police, the Customs Service and, of course, the Government Offices also need to prepare. Sweden has learned this from Finland, which has gone through the same process.
SVT: What are the biggest worries once the flag has been raised?
– The deluge of information. There will be a colossal amount of documents that are expected to be answered. That more people are needed is beyond all reasonable doubt, says Olle Mobergh.
Usually takes three years
When countries are to be militarily integrated with NATO, it usually takes up to three years. But Bruce Hutchinson, who has been involved in reviewing what the Swedish Armed Forces need to do to be fully integrated into NATO, was surprised when the meetings with Sweden started in the summer of 2022.
"Already after six to eight months, we were in a situation where we could practically shut down our working group and conclude that Sweden was fully integrated into NATO," he says.
"We have not discussed nuclear weapons"
The biggest, and perhaps only, real lesson Sweden has received has been about Sweden's communication system. They need to be partially replaced in order to be able to communicate with NATO systems.
"We have not discussed nuclear weapons and intelligence in our working group. Those discussions are a bit more classified, and take place separately," says Bruce Hutchinson.
When the Swedish flag is hoisted, Sweden will have access to the last of NATO's secrets and encryption systems.
"It's going to feel very, very big and touching," says Olle Mobergh.