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​The United States and Sweden plan to increase military cooperation and joint weapons development in response to increasing security challenges. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist formalized the effort when they signed a statement of intent at the Pentagon on Wednesday, according to a Pentagon release. The two countries aim to enhance interoperability and bolster capabilities through exercises, increase information sharing, as well as research and develop of underwater warfare, air defense, and cyber capabilities, according to the nonbinding statement. Sweden is not a member of NATO, but has expanded its relationship with alliance members in the face of increased Russian aggression in the region. In May, the Nordic country’s parliament approved a deal that allows NATO increased access to its territory for exercises and in the event of war, Reuters reported.