For several years, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF), M. Bydén, has acknowledged the significance of digital security threats
(Bydén, 2017). Even now, he continues to stress the importance of taking such threats seriously; ‘Sweden is attacked everyday by means that harm our society today and in the more long-term. We are not in a military conflict on and about Swedish territory, but we are in a conflict about the values we want to uphold and interests we want to be handled in a democratic way’
(Dagens Nyheter, 2022).
This article aims to discuss how a state could best use its resources in resisting an aggressor when joint operations have failed. Focusing on the potential role of special operations forces (SOF) in resistance operations, the article examines scenarios where small states are attacked by a superior opponent. Based on the example of Sweden, currently still a militarily non-aligned country that nevertheless has adopted a security policy based on cooperation with other states, we explore how a small state not belonging to NATO might plan and prepare for alternative scenarios. Not being covered by Article 5, Sweden needs to be prepared to fight the war on its own. A better, but less likely, scenario would be fighting together with partners, at home, or in the near abroad. Since Ukraine shares similarities with Sweden in terms of its status as an enhanced NATO-partner, it will serve as an additional, and highly relevant, point of reference in the discussion. The developments in this war indicates that for a non-NATO member the primary alternative will be to conduct the fight on its own. Based on the above, the article will go on to investigate a number of old truths from the late 20th century as well as flipped lessons learned from twenty years of counter insurgency, primarily in the Middle East, South Sahel and South East Asia. Small states tend to have very limited size SOF which indicates that mission prioritization will be a key factor for the utility of SOF in resistance operations. There are, however, ways of finding other relevant roles, than the traditional ones, for SOF in resistance operations.