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Finland beefs up its defense with 2.2 billion Euros

Finnish soldier in the Cold Response 2022 exercise in Norway. Photo: Emil Biese FDF Combat Camera Team

The Finnish Defense Forces have been almost unique in Europe as their primary objective has always been to stop and beat back a Russian peer level attack. Unlike most other countries this priority remained even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine, focus was placed on readiness and the ability to also counter smaller scale hybrid operations that can occur with very little warning. This has been achieved with the creation of readiness units that are manned by a mix of conscripts and professional soldiers. 

The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has been very different than the 2014 one, with the whole operation opening up as large scale peer level war with all of the tools available in the Russian arsenal used. While this is exactly the premise Finnish defense is based on, the fact of a peer level warfare in Europe has caused the need to bolster some capabilities.

Finnish government held it's annual budget framework meeting this week. While the biggest surprise was the ability get all of the coalition parties to agree in one day, the largest spending increase was directed to the national defense. Government directed 2,2 billion euros to defense. How will the Defense Forces spend the additional funds?

The big ticket items already ordered, F-35A fighters and new Corvettes and the still under selection high altitude surface to air missiles, have already been funded so the investment part of the funds will be used to bolster weapon stocks and supplies. The shopping list includes anti-tank, anti-ship, anti-aircraft and air to air missiles, artillery munitions, spare parts and battlefield supplies. There will be an increase in the number of reconnaissance drones of unspecified type, most likely smaller unit level equipment. 

This shopping list shows that the basic premises of the Finnish defense have been correct. Flexible and heavily armed forces with good command and communications infrastructure can hardly go wrong. 

The biggest impact to the defense capability might still be the increases in personnel budget. This allows the Defense Forces to hire up to 500 more paid personnel, including contract NCO:s, civilian workers and officers. The amount of reservist refresher exercises will also be significantly increased. The amount of reservists to be called up for training will rise from 19000 soldiers to 29000. This will allow the most important troops to receive the latest information.

Finland is ready and it's fighting capability will keep on growing. The political apparatus is also leaning heavily towards Finland applying for NATO membership during the late spring or early summer of 2022. Strong army with a total defense concept, that employs the whole nation, backed up by the NATO article 5 support is a strong guarantee for the Finnish independence.

Comments

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