On Thursday, the Government approved Finland’s latest national defense policy report, which covers measures up to the end of this decade.
The Secretary of Defense will present a policy report to the media this week Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) stressed the growing importance of cyber defense, strategic communications and information defense.
"Our cyber defense must be strengthened and given [the needed] tools," Kaikkonen said.
In practice, improving capacity in these areas means hiring additional staff and acquiring new technology.
500 additional years
The report proposes that 500 new members be added to the Defense Forces by the end of the 2020s. It has already been agreed that the first 100 people will be hired during the current government.
Kaikkonen expressed concern about the number of personnel in the defense administration, saying that the current number of personnel is simply not enough in the long run.
Although new, developing areas receive more attention and more resources, Finland’s defense is still based on military conscription, a trained reserve, a strong will to defend the country and the concept of national defense, according to Kaikkonen.
Concerns near and far
The report describes the Finnish defense environment as such "tense and difficult to predict." It emphasizes the growing strategic importance of the Arctic regions in Finland’s neighboring regions and the perception of defense in Northern Europe as a whole.
The report also refers to intensified competition between the great powers affecting Finland’s security. China’s rise as a global player has changed the balance of power.
"The impact of the sanctions used by China on the security of the target countries is becoming increasingly worrying," said Esa Pulkkinen, Director General of the Ministry of Defense.
NATO is described in the report as "an actor promoting security and stability"and notes that Finland still has the opportunity to apply for NATO membership.
The United States is mentioned by name "an important and close partner for Finland". Sweden and Norway are also mentioned as important allies with whom defense cooperation will be stepped up.
In the case of Russia, the political report states that "Russia’s actions … show that its threshold for using and using military force … has been lowered."
"Finland has no immediate military threat. However, preparations need to be continued to combat the use or threat of military force," Pulkkinen added.
Changes are also being made to the force structure of the Defense Forces. In the future, wartime forces will be divided into operational and local forces.
The number of local forces will be increased from 2025 by converting most of the regional forces into local forces. At the same time, the roles of local forces are expanding and standards are rising.
The tasks of the local forces include cooperation with civilian authorities, surveillance and security operations, and action against special forces. The operational forces are well equipped and designed for demanding, mobile combat missions.
The change will not affect the total force of the wartime troops, which remains at 280,000.
The cost savings imposed on the Defense Forces in previous years and the resources currently available pose challenges to maintaining operations and preparedness at current levels, and the report says they limit preparedness for long-term crisis and warfare.
Source: The Nordic Page