Working Group Proposes Statutory Basis for Military Intelligence
(Source: Finland Ministry of Defence; issued April 19, 2017)
The working group preparing legislation on military intelligence submitted its report to Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö on 19 April 2017. The working group proposes in its report that an act on military intelligence be enacted. The purpose of the proposal is to bring legislation on intelligence gathering by the Finnish Defence Forces up to date and to fulfil requirements arising from the Constitution and international obligations.

Military intelligence is a key component of Finnish military capabilities and, as part of their statutory duties, the Finnish Defence Forces are tasked with intelligence gathering. The aim of the intelligence legislation is to improve intelligence gathering on serious international military threats against the Finnish military so that the Finnish Defence Forces have the powers to conduct human intelligence, radio signals intelligence, information systems intelligence and telecommunications intelligence in Finland and abroad.

The purpose of military intelligence is to monitor developments in the security environment and produce information on the current situation to support the decision-making of the top political and military leaders. Military intelligence provides advance warning of military threats against Finland. In addition, military intelligence supports decision-making concerning international operations and the operations of the Finnish forces and force protection.

The working group proposes in its report that the act includes provisions on the targets of military intelligence, the principles of intelligence activities, and the directing and oversight of intelligence operations in the defence administration. Military intelligence authorities would include the Defence Command of the Defence Forces and the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency.

The act would also include provisions on intelligence gathering methods available to authorities, deciding on the use of military intelligence powers, disclosure of intelligence information, prohibitions against conducting intelligence operations, international cooperation and registration of information.

During the preparatory work the working group took into account the fundamental and human rights and consulted stakeholders extensively.

The proposals of the working group are part of the ongoing preparation of intelligence legislation which is based on the Government Programme. Now that the reports on the project have been completed, they will be sent out for comments. The aim is to submit the proposals to Parliament during the coming autumn session.

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