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Finnish government publishes defence report

Finland plans to proceed with planned strategic capability projects: the Squadron 2020 project to procure four new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes (pictured) and the HX F/A-18 Hornet fighter replacement programme, accounting for EUR1.5 billion of the 2021 defence budget. (RMC)

The Finnish government approved a defence report on 9 September to be submitted to parliament. The Ministry of Defence said in a press release the same day that the report was published at a time when “Finland's defence environment remains tense and difficult to predict” and “[t]he importance of the neighbouring Arctic regions is growing”.

The Finnish government is concerned about Russia maintaining “significant conventional warfighting capabilities in Finland's neighbouring areas and ... increased military capacity in particular in its western region”.

The defence report covers the land, sea, and air domains, cyber and information environments, and space, with the cyber operating environment to be the subject of a more detailed study. Cyber will be developed not only to protect the systems of the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF), but also other systems directly affecting defence capabilities.

The report calls for the restructuring of the FDF wartime units, which will be divided into operational and local forces. The latter will be reinforced from 2025 by transforming most regional forces into local forces with nation-wide defence reaction capabilities. There will also be an emphasis on the role of reservists.

The defence report calls for Finland to have the ability to co-operate with key partners in all security situations, including crises. These partners include Nordic Defence Co-operation (NORDEFCO) countries, the European Union (EU), and NATO, as well as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

Finland plans to continue to participate in international exercises and military crisis management, including those with NATO and the EU.

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