The Nordic Battlegroup (NBG) is one of eighteen European Union battlegroups. It consists of around 2,500 soldiers including officers, with manpower contributed from the seven participating countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). The military strategic command of the force is done in cooperation with any of the suitable five Operation Headquarters framework nations at the time for deployment. Denmark has opted out of the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU, hence all battlegroups. Norway has negotiated an opt-in to participate, even though it is not an EU member state. Sweden, Finland and Norway have planned to form a joint battlegroup.
The unit was ready for operations between January 2008 and June 2008.
The battle group second alert period was between 1 January and 30 June 2011. This had been planned by a core of staff officers since January 2009. On the 31st of August 2009 the "Key Nucleus" of the Force Headquarters arrived in Enköping in order to establish a functional staff. During autumn 2009 the main focus has been education and internal processes. Spring 2010 was used for planning, case study and exercise Combined Joint Staff Exercise CJSE 10. Autumn 2010 is an intense exercise period with Illuminated Summer 10, Initial Effort 10 and Joint Action 10. 1 January the Nordic Battlegroup is on standby to be deployed within 10 days. All personnel shall be at their operating bases within 48 hours after the decision to launch an operation is taken.
Order of battle
The unit uses a modular organisation with a mechanised infantry battalion at its core (During NBG 2008 it was the 41. Rapid Reaction Battalion, During NBG 2011 it is the 192. Core Battalion, Norrbottens regemente (armoured)), which has been organised around Norrbottens regemente (I19). During 2011 a framework exists for the integration of additional resources. These resources range from artillery, air defence, and intelligence to additional logistical support. Additional support in the form of air, naval and special forces assets will be allocated based on the operational tasks the unit is expected to perform.
Coat of arms
The unit's coat of arms, registered in 2008, is a blue escutcheon displaying a silver lion with red tongue and claws, holding in his right forepaw a sword and in his left an olive branch, both of gold. The motto is Ad omnia paratus (Latin: Prepared for anything). The lion is a national symbol common to the constituent countries of the Nordic Battlegroup except Ireland, and the sword and olive branch signify the ambition to impose peace - with or without the use of violence.
The Nordic Battlegroup's coat of arms was originally designed to incorporate heraldic elements and colours from all member nations, including "a lion that did not look Finnish, Norwegian, Estonian or Swedish."
In 2007 the commander ruled that the lion's penis had to be removed. Since civilian women are often sexually abused in the war zones of the world, they did not consider the depiction of a penis appropriate on a uniform worn into battle. However, this decision has been questioned by some Swedish heraldists, including heraldic artist Vladimir Sagerlund, who has asserted that coats of arms containing lions without a penis were historically given to those who had betrayed the Swedish Crown.
In an unusual move, the Armed Forces Heraldry Council authorised the Nordic Battlegroup commander's use of a command sign. This consisted of a bunting divided into fields of blue, gold and blue with a Roman numeral V in the gold field, since the unit would be the fifth mobilized combat unit of the European Union.
As of December 2014
, the Nordic Battlegroup consisted of around 2,500 officers and soldiers:
On October 29, 2010 the findings of an official audit by the Swedish National Audit Office was published which concluded there were fundamental weaknesses in the organization's logistics capabilities, internal cooperation and personnel supply. According to the National Auditor, Jan Landahl, the Nordic Battlegroup also suffered from inadequate control over expenditures and reporting from the Government to the Riksdag was also unsatisfactory. The audit office's report found that twice as many Swedish soldiers were assigned to the Battlegroup compared to what the 2004 mandate had assigned, and the costs to the State was in the multiples of what the Riksdag had been told.
Previous Swedish Armed Force chief General Sverker Göransson advocated for a Nordic Battalion Force to be more narrowly focused on local defense.