For the past 20 years, Sweden’s Armed Forces have been using Exonaut® to enhance the delivery of their training and exercise activities. Over this time, platform’s development has taken place in partnership with some of the world’s leading armed forces to respond to an evolving battlespace and more sophisticated training needs. Our cooperation goes beyond Exonaut, leading us to sign a strategic recruitment partnership in 2017. We spoke about the partnership with Nina Larsson, 4C’s Head of Delivery for Military and Government and Brigadier Klas Eksell, HR Director for the Swedish Armed Forces.
Nina, what are the benefits to 4C Strategies and the Swedish Armed Forces through employer relations?
The Swedish Armed Forces are our oldest clients and it was a natural extension of our close cooperation when, in 2017, we signed a strategic partnership regarding the provision of appropriately qualified and available personnel to each other. The idea behind the partnership is that the Swedish Armed Forces facilitate recruitment of personnel with a military background into 4C Strategies whilst, at the same time, and as required, enabling our employees to occasionally serve in the Swedish Armed Forces. Simply put, some of our employees also have an operational role in the Swedish Armed Forces and some are conducting military training or education to further their military employability or careers. Whilst serving in a military position or on training or education, our employees are on leave from 4C Strategies.
The benefits are clear to both parties; the Swedish Armed Forces are able to draw on a pool of highly talented individuals to round out capabilities and competencies they do not routinely require. They also gain by employing individuals who may have supported the training and development of other nation’s militaries through our support to them, or who bring in business skills acquired through our work in the corporate sector both in Sweden and internationally. 4C Strategies benefit from gaining a greater knowledge of military thinking, exposure to military planning and decision-making skills, and deriving a deeper understanding of emerging capabilities and requirements. Given that the Swedish Armed Forces are facing completely new challenges in the forms of growth, emerging threats and resourcing the requirements of Total Defence, the value of our partnership increases.
Nina, you have a military background. Tell us more about that.
Yes, that is correct. I attended the Military Academy Karlberg in Stockholm and hold the rank of Second Lieutenant at that time. I applied to the Officer programme after completing mandatory military service and have worked at the Armed forces command & control regiment (LEDR) in Enköping in addition to my overseas mission in Kosovo, KS09, in 2004.
How are 4C Strategies currently assisting the Swedish Armed Forces?
We deliver an integrated training, exercise and readiness management software platform called Exonaut®. In parallel we provide appropriately trained and qualified expert personnel to enable the Swedish Armed Forces to conduct training, exercise management, capability development and readiness tracking. In addition to supporting the major Swedish military exercises, we have an enduring, daily, presence to enable the Armed Forces to get the greatest utility from our combined solution. Given the uncertain nature of the world, assured training and capability development and an evidence-based understanding of readiness posture is vitally important. Close cooperation also ensures knowledge transfer that is both long-term and of mutual benefit.
Brigadier Eksell, how do you view the cooperation between 4C Strategies and the Swedish Armed Forces?
4C Strategies have delivered systems and services to the Swedish Armed Forces since 2000 so we have a long and shared history. In addition, 4C Strategies share our motto “making a difference for others” through their contribution towards a safer society for organisations and their people. This shared vision forms a strong basis for this partnership. Additionally, as employees of 4C Strategies have worked closely with militaries, as well as public and private organisations, all over the globe, the company possesses a unique set of competencies and experience the Swedish Armed Forces can benefit from.
”4C Strategies possesses a unique set of competencies the Swedish Armed Forces can benefit from.”
Through our employer relations, we create conditions that favour our respective organisations and employees equally. Individuals with a part time commitment to the Swedish Armed Forces often have a full-time employment elsewhere and 4C Strategies is one of many employers that share personnel with the Swedish Armed Forces. Such individuals may, for example, have their main employment at 4C Strategies and serve the Swedish Armed Forces a few weeks during the year. The strategic cooperation within employer relations enables both parties to uphold employer responsibility while mutually creating the best conditions for the individual to continue his or her professional, as well as personal, development.
Why is the cooperation important for the Swedish Armed Forces?
In order for Sweden, as a society, to be able to tackle a diverse range of crises and threats, our Armed Forces must draw on the best society has to offer; this includes our regular and reserve forces but also ensuring, as the situation dictates, we employ the expertise and experience from within industry and academia. Companies such as 4C Strategies benefit by participating in important national events, in military training or deployed on operations that simultaneously strengthens their organisation with highly trained, qualified and motivated personnel. Together, we create a stronger defence that handles and overcomes every threat and obstacle it may face.
” Together, we create a stronger defence that handles and overcomes every threat and obstacle it may face”
Returning to you, Nina. Many at 4C Strategies come from a Swedish Armed Forces background.
Yes, that is correct. From my point of view, I think that it is very positive that many of my colleagues are involved, and always have been involved, with the Swedish Armed Forces in different ways. Some have been officers or soldiers in the reserve and some as members of the Home Guard. Many have also been on leave from 4C whilst serving abroad or whilst continuing their military education in the Swedish Armed Forces.
What skills have people from the Swedish Armed Forces developed that could be of particular use for 4C Strategies?
A person who has served in the Swedish Armed Forces often has a deeper understanding of the consequences different decisions and actions may have. They frequently possess an analytical ability that can be crucial under pressure. They are able to plan effectively based on known facts and realistic assumptions. Equally, they are well-practised in working in small multi-functional teams. For example, in many of our assignments within the risk and crisis management sphere, such abilities have proven to be a powerful influence and very useful.
What is your take on having two employers, working both at 4C Strategies and in the Swedish Armed Forces?
The deeper our knowledge of the Swedish Armed Forces is, the better our support will be for not only that organisation, but also for other stakeholders within the umbrella of Total Defence that 4C Strategies are currently supporting them with. The ability to switch between serving the Swedish Armed Forces and working at 4C Strategies, where we support governmental bodies as well as private enterprises crucial to the operation of our society, I believe, is good for society in general. Total Defence is based on the close cooperation between military and civilian enterprises. Mutual understanding of each other’s prerequisites and capabilities is an important success factor in the development of a modern, credible and proficient Total Defence capability.
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