The Government has started to implement the Defence Report that was approved by the Parliament in June. The Ministry of Defence has provided guidelines for the Defence Forces to implement the Report.
Its key premise is that Finland’s defence capability must be able to respond to the demands of the changed security environment and therefore Finland strengthens national defence capability and deepens international defence cooperation.
In its guidelines to the Defence Forces the Ministry of Defence takes a position, among other things, on:
--Readiness: The Defence Forces? operating expenditure will be increased by EUR 50 million in 2018?2021 to improve readiness, especially in the Army, to respond better to the changed security situation. The Defence Forces will develop conscription and the training of conscripts and, at the same time, takes into account readiness requirements and cost-efficiency.
--Wartime strength: The Defence Forces will integrate the wartime mobilization organisation into local troops. Conscripts will also be used to carry out tasks in times of crisis, according to their level of training. In a crisis situation, the Defence Forces? war-time strength will also include Border Guard troops that may be attached to the Defence Forces. The wartime strength of the Defence Forces will be approximately 280 000 troops.
--Voluntary national defence: The Ministry of Defence will lead the work when the status of voluntary national defence in relation to military national defence is looked into, including tasks in local defence and executive assistance. Actors in voluntary national defence will be heard as extensively as is necessary in this phase.
--Strategic capability projects: Strategic projects such as the Squadron 2020 project and the HX project to replace the Hornet fleet are vital for Finland’s defence. Preparatory work will be continued according to the schedule and within the financial resources that were referred to in the Defence Report.
--Cyber defence: The Defence will create the preconditions for cyber exercises and will take part actively in exercises that develop cyber defence capacity.
--Conscription and training: The Defence Forces shall aim to reach the conscripts more extensively before the call-ups and the start of the conscript service than before. The use of cost-efficient and up-to-date training methods that are also future-oriented will be extended. The level of daily allowances in proportion to the cost of living index will be maintained.
--Personnel: The number of regular personnel will remain at the minimum level of the current approximately 12,000 persons. Posts and vacancies in the Defence Forces will be filled to as high a degree as possible. An additional appropriation of EUR 2 million will be allocated to the Defence Forces for the employment of contractual military personnel in regions with a high youth unemployment rate.
--Defence cooperation: The practice of inviting international partners to national exercises will be continued and these can be combined to become part of the partners? exercises. Finland continues to organize, lead and host international exercises. Finland and Sweden will deepen their mutual defence cooperation which will be further developed to cover operational planning in all situations.
--Receiving and providing international assistance and other international activities: The Defence Forces will create the capacity to provide and receive military assistance and to take part in other international activities in ways that are enabled by new legislation.
--Military crisis management: Finland continues to take part in military crisis management and in other international activities. In its planning, the Defence Forces shall ensure that crisis management operations in general support the development of national capabilities.