The Chief of Defence leads the Defence Forces, which are responsible for securing the territorial integrity of the country, and the defence of the nation and its military preparedness in general. Administratively, the Defence Forces are under the Ministry of Defence. In respect to operational orders, the Chief of Defence is directly responsible to the President.
In addition to military defence, the concept of total defence includes measures concerning national economy, civil defence, the media, social welfare, communications and civil order. In accordance with the 1991 State of Readiness Act, the defence of the nation is shared among several different administrative sectors.
The country is divided into three commands and 12 military provinces, a structure that ensures the whole territory is defended. The most important tasks of the Defence Forces are surveillance of the nation's land, sea and air spaces, securing territorial integrity and, if necessary, the defence of the country.
According to Finnish law, all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 are under obligation to carry out military service. The conscripts serve either a period of twelve (12), nine (9) or six (6) months. Each year more than 80% of those called up complete their national service. An essential part of national service is military training of reservists. In accordance with a law passed in 1995, it is possible for women to volunteer for military service, and 400-500 women do so annually.
Finland's wartime defence is based on mobilised forces. The general development in Europe, including the environs of Finland, has made a reduction in the strength of Defence Forces possible, provided the technical level of the remaining forces is raised. The reductions in the Defence Forces wartime strength will be continued, bringing the maximum strength down to 350,000 men by the end of 2008.
In developing Finland's defence system, priority will be given to the command and control system, the Army's readiness formations, military crisis management capacity and the wartime economy arrangements in the information society.
4. The Finnish Defence Forces
Finland spends about 1.4 % of its GDP on military defence. An essential part of the Defence Forces' capability is its materiel preparedness, and about one third of defence expenditure is spent on procurement.
Finland's military crisis management capacity is developed to meet the crisis management objectives of the European Union and the UN, the primary tool being the NATO Planning and Review Process (PARP). Development of the troops and systems of the Finnish Defence Forces for crisis management purposes will be of benefit to national defence. Finland can participate in military crisis management operations implemented by the UN, the OSCE, the EU or NATO, provided these operations are under a UN or OSCE mandate consistent with the provisions of the Finnish Act on Peace Support Operations. Finland may have up to 2,000 peacekeepers in operations at any one time.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence are responsible for military crisis management preparations, guidance and supervision. The Defence Forces are responsible for practical implementation.
Finland's first priority is to take part in EU-led Peace Support Operations in the Nordic framework. The Nordic Countries have developed the concept of a common pool of forces for military crisis management within the framework of the Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support (NORDCAPS). Our common Nordic aim is to create, by the year 2003, a Nordic force package up to brigade level for Peace Support Operations. These troops could be used in both EU and NATO-led operations, as well as UN and possible OSCE-led operations.
Finland cooperates with NATO in numerous ways. Finland signed the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Framework Document in May 1994 and joined the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in June 1997. Finland supports the strengthening of the PfP and the participation of Partners in the planning of crisis management operations.
Within the PfP Finland has taken part in the Planning and Review Process (PARP) since February 1995. The Planning and Review Process is for Finland the central tool for developing military interoperability and it helps to facilitate the evaluation and development of the capabilities of forces to cooperate in crisis management operations.
Finland's participation in PARP and in other cooperative efforts with NATO has two conditions: in the prevailing politico-security situation Finland remains militarily non-allied and maintains a credible national defence. Through cooperation, the preconditions for international crisis management are created, as well as the possibility of influencing European security structures in the national interest.
Today, Finland is not aspiring to NATO membership. However, close and constructive cooperation with the Alliance is high on the Finnish agenda. While such cooperation promotes European crisis management capabilities, it also enhances Finland's interoperability with other nations and thus indirectly improves its national defence.
5. The Security Environment of Finland
From the perspective of Finland, the European Union, Russia and NATO are the central actors in security development in Europe. They are all in a state of transformation and affect security and stability in Finland's environs in northern Europe. Finland supports the stability of northern Europe and of the entire continent by maintaining and developing a national defence, which is credible relative to its security environment.
During the preparatory phase of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which later led to the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, Finland and Sweden took an active role to include the so-called Petersberg tasks (humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace enforcement) in the tasks of the European Union. The Finnish-Swedish initiative paved the way for developing the Common European Security and Defence Policy in the Cologne and Helsinki European Council meetings in 1999.
Finland supports a strong EU and participates constructively in developing the Union's security and defence policy. Finland's commitment in developing the EU's crisis management capabilities complements the work already done for years with the UN and through NATO's Partnership for Peace Programme. While Finland continues to closely co-operate with these organisations, it also contributes to the EU's possibilities to prevent and react to crises and thus to strengthening the EU's position as an international actor (from Security and defence policy, written for Virtual Finland by Janne Kuusela, adviser; Ministry of Defence, International Defence Policy Unit).
III. Russia and Finnish Security
Among the factors affecting Finland's security, Russia clearly is one of the most significant. Russia has been a key part of the European security landscape for centuries and continues to be one today. The Finnish-Russian border is 1,300 kilometers long, and Finland wants to keep it a border of peace and cooperation. By integrating Russia into the network of multilateral international cooperation, we will be making a valuable contribution to European as well as international security.
Finland does not believe that Russia would increase its security, nor make its neighbors more safe, by isolating itself from the rest of Europe. For this reason Finland some time ago supported Russian membership in the Council of Europe. For
the same reason Finland is now actively participating in European Union-sponsored assistance programs in Russia.
I also believe that the first round of Russian presidential elections was a victory for democratic development in Russia. It is another contribution to stability in all of Europe. When stability and predictability inside Russia increase, the chances for more intensive cooperation increase as well. For one thing, this means that such open issues as NATO enlargement, the stipulations of the CFE treaty, and Russia's relations with its neighbors, especially with the Baltic States, can be a matter of negotiation, not one of confrontation (from Security in a Changing Europe: A Finnish View Minister of Defense of Finland Anneli Taina).
IV. Finnish and Swedish Security - Comparing National Policies
Four main conclusions can be drawn from the preceding analysis of Finnish and Swedish security.
First, even though Finland and Sweden are neighbours and share histories and values, they have had different perceptions of security and they pursued different security policies in the inter-war period as well as during the Cold War even though the countries were known as the Nordic neutrals.