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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Quest for Autonomy and Excellence: The Defense Innovation Systems of France and Sweden


The defense innovation systems (DIS) in France and Sweden have longstanding traditions of domestic innovation and high self-reliance, but they differ greatly in how they have achieved these ambitions. France has almost complete self-reliance in defense technology and close government control of activities contributing to defense innovation and regarding the defense industry. In France, there is considerable state ownership, and foreign ownership is blocked. In contrast, Sweden has delimited its breadth of sovereign technology development since the 1990s, and now expresses three "essential security interests": fighter aircraft, underwater capability, and cyber. This research brief describes what characterizes the present defense innovation systems in these countries, discusses their similarities and differences, and points out factors that have led to their success.

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