“. . . Koti, Uskonto, ja Isänmaa . . .”— Prime Minister Sanna Marin
P U O L U S T U S V O I M A T
FINNISH DEFENSE FORCES
Emblem of the FDF.
25 January 1918
Finnish Border Guard
President of the Republic
Minister of Defense
Chief of Defense
General Timo Kivinen
16 – 49
165, 255, or 347 days term
Available for military service
€3.158 billion; 2020
Percentage of GDP
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
Flag of the Ministry of Defense
President of the Republic
No fixed term
14 February 1974 (age 46)
University of Helsinki
The Finnish Defense Forces are responsible for the defense of Finland. Universal male conscription is in place, under which all men above 18 years of age serve for 165, 255, or 347 days. Alternative non-military service for men and voluntary service for women is available. Finland is the only non-NATO European Union state bordering Russia. Finland's official policy states that a wartime military strength of 280,000 personnel constitutes a sufficient deterrent. The army consists of a highly mobile field army backed up by local defense units. The army defends the national territory and its military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, instead of attempting to hold the attacking army on the frontier. Finland's defence budget equals approximately €3.2 billion or 1.3% of GDP. The voluntary overseas service is highly popular and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO and EU missions. Homeland defence willingness against a superior enemy is at 76%, one of the highest rates in Europe. In wartime the Finnish Border Guard (which is its own military unit in peacetime) becomes part of the Finnish Defense Forces.
The Finnish military doctrine is based on the concept of total defence. The term total means that all sectors of the government and economy are involved in the defence planning. In principle, each ministry has the responsibility for planning its operations during a crisis. There are no special emergency authorities, such as the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. Instead, each authority regularly trains for crises and has been allocated a combination of normal and emergency powers it needs to keep functioning in any conceivable situation. In a war, all resources of society may be diverted to ensure the survival of the nation. The legal basis for such measures is found in the Readiness Act and in the State of Defense Act, which would come into force through a presidential decision verified by parliament in the case of a crisis.
The main objective of the doctrine is to establish and maintain a military force capable of deterring any potential aggressor from using Finnish territory or applying military pressure against Finland. To accomplish this, the defence is organised on the doctrine of territorial defence. The stated main principles of the territorial defence doctrine are:
military non-alliance, general conscription, territorial defense, training of conscripts for wartime units, dispersed mobilisation, and flexible readiness in responding to military threats of various degree.
The defence planning is organised to counteract three threat situations:
A regional crisis that may have effects on Finland, political, economic and military pressure, which may include a threat of using military force and its restricted use, and use of military force in the form of a strategic strike or an attack beginning with a strategic strike aimed at seizing territory.
In all cases, the national objective is to keep the vital areas, especially the capital area in Finnish possession. In other areas, the size of the country is used to delay and wear down the invader, until the enemy may be defeated in an area of Finnish choosing. The Army carries most of the responsibility for this task.
The key wartime army units are:
3 Readiness brigades
2 Jaeger brigades
2 mechanised battle groups
6 Infantry brigades (regional)
14 independent battalions / battlegroups (regional)
28 Territorial Forces (Finland) / company sized (regional)
Special Jaeger battalion
The total number of territorial and regional units is undisclosed. The army units are mostly composed of reservists, the career soldiers manning the command and specialty positions.
The role of the Navy is to repel all attacks carried out against Finnish coasts and to safeguard the territorial integrity during peacetime and the "gray" phase of the conflict. The maritime defence relies on combined use of coastal artillery, missile systems and naval mines to wear down the attacker. The Air Force is used to deny the invader the air superiority and to protect most important troops and objects of national importance in conjunction with the ground-based air defence. As the readiness of the Air Force and the Navy is high even during the peacetime, the career personnel have a much more visible role in the wartime duties of these defence branches.
The Border Guard has the responsibility for border security in all situations. During a war, it will contribute to the national defence partially integrated into the army, its total mobilized strength being some 11,600 troops. One of the projected uses for the Border Guard is guerrilla warfare in areas temporarily occupied by enemy.
The Army is organised into eight Peacetime brigades. Two of these brigades, Army Academy and Utti Jaeger Regiment do not have subordinate regional offices. The six other brigades have one or more subordinate regional offices and a deputy commander. During a crisis, the regional offices form provincial local battalions and the brigade headquarters form the regional command level. During normal situation, the regional offices are responsible for conscription, organizing voluntary national defense work and planning crisis time activities.
The Finnish Navy employs 2,300 people and about 4,300 conscripts are trained each year. Finnish Navy vessels are given the ship prefix "FNS", short for "Finnish Navy ship". The Finnish Navy also includes coastal forces and coastal artillery. The current Commander-in-Chief of the navy is Rear Admiral Jori Harju. The navy is organized into the Navy Command and three Brigade-level units and Naval Academy. Since 1998 the navy also includes the Nyland Brigade in Dragsvik, where Finnish Marines or Coastal Jaegers are trained. Nyland Brigade is also the only Swedish language unit in the country and it carries on the traditions and battle-honours of the Nyland (Uusimaa) Regiment of the Swedish Army.
The Finnish Air Force (FAF) is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. Its peacetime tasks are airspace surveillance, identification flights, and production of readiness formations for wartime conditions. The Finnish Air Force was founded on 6 March 1918. The FAF is organized into three Air Commands, each assigned to one of the three air defense areas into which Finland is divided. Pilot training is undertaken at the Air Force Academy in Tikkakoski, with advanced conversion performed at squadron level.