The Defence Policy and Military Strategy of The Nordic Countries

This course focuses on the formulation of small states’ defence policies as well as of the political guidance of small states regarding the creation, organization and use of military power.

The course introduces contemporary research on defence politics as well as on military strategy with a special emphasis on the situation in the Nordic countries after the end of the Cold War. Theoretically, Realism, Liberalism and Constructivism are applied. Methodologically, the course is built on case study and comparative methods.

The course is divided into four parts:

  • Initially, the strategic settings of Northern Europe as well as the security policies of the Nordic countries are studied.
  • Thereafter, the military strategy regarding participation in international peace support operations lead by the EU, the UN and NATO respectively is in focus.
  • This is followed by studying the military strategy of national defence, with special emphasis on the countries’ different approaches to NATO.
  • The fourth part is about Nordic defence cooperation with a focus on force generation.


Dr. Håkan Edström is an active duty Lieutenant Colonel in the Swedish Armed Forces, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Senior Lecturer in War Studies. His research focuses on security policy and military strategy.

Among his publications are The military strategy of middle powers (Monograph, Routledge, 2020), The defense strategies of middle powers (Article, Comparative Strategy, 2020), Between the eagle and the bear: Explaining the alignment strategies of the Nordic countries (Article, Comparative Strategy, 2020), and The military strategy of small states (Monograph, Routledge, 2019).

He currently works on the third part of the planned trilogy, The military strategy of great powers.


Håkan Edström

Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer +46 8-55342731