Portrait of Martin Neuding Skoog.

Martin Neuding Skoog is Associate Professor of Military History at the Swedish Defence University.

2.9 million to research project on intelligence networks in 16th-century Sweden

Martin Neuding Skoog, Associate Professor of Military History at the Swedish Defence University, has been awarded a project grant of SEK 2.9 million from the Swedish Research Council for a three-year research project on intelligence networks in Sweden between 1521–1592.

The aim of the research project is to gain new insights into intelligence networks in 16th century Europe.

"As early modern states emerged, princes' demands for reliable information gave rise to new intelligence organizations, news networks, and modern diplomacy. The first Vasa kings also put a lot of effort into acquiring intelligence from abroad, but the organization of this activity has rarely been addressed in Sweden", says Martin Neuding Skoog.

The role of intelligence networks in the 16th century

The study will examine the correspondents- and spy networks organized during the reigns of Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV, and Johan III. For instance, Neuding Skoog will look at the role of intelligence in the Swedish state in the 16th century, how intelligence was gathered, the extent to which it was useful for security policy, and how extensive and advanced the organization was in comparison with similar international intelligence efforts.

"I will look at how the intelligence networks were organised, who the organisers and agents were, what types of intelligence were gathered, and the geographical areas that were of particular interest."

Diplomatic, military and international perspectives

The study departs from the assumption that the Swedish intelligence system developed in response to the demands of foreign policy, and that the effort was important in the state-building process.

It combines diplomatic, military, and international perspectives with the information systems of the early modern period and places great emphasis on the role of non-state actors.

"The results will give us new insights into the intelligence needs of the state and the benefits of this activity."

The study will run from 2023-2025 and is the first major comparative international study of the early modern Swedish intelligence system.

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