Reform of the Finnish Defence Forces to start
In their meeting on 8 February, the President of the Republic and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed the Finnish Defence Forces Reform, based on the proposal put forward by the Chief of Defence. The implementation of the Defence Forces Reform will now be started under the guidance of the Ministry of Defence.
The reform is to be completed by the beginning of 2015 and the main goal is to ensure that the Defence Forces will continue to be able to fulfil their tasks and maintain Finland's military defence capabilities into the 2020s. The reform is geared to maintain the Defence Forces' current tasks, to ensure the functioning of general conscription, and to develop defence capabilities on the basis of territorial defence.
By doing so, the Defence Forces aim to meet the EUR 200 million savings target set out in the Government Programme. One third of the defence budget is allocated to defence materiel procurement and development of capabilities, another third to cover personnel expenses, and the final third to finance operational costs and facilities.
According to the proposal, the reform will cut down the wartime troops of the Finnish Defence Forces and reduce the number of personnel significantly. With the abolishing of military provinces, the new organisation will have three levels. A number of brigade-level units, centres and other entities will be closed down or combined. Unnecessary and less important areas and properties will be given up. Personnel will be treated in line with principles on good employer practice. Cooperation will be done with other ministries and authorities to mitigate regional impact.
Finland's defence is based on general conscription and will continue to be so. The system is to be developed, i.a., on the basis of the Siilasmaa report. The whole territory of Finland will be defended.
The Ministry of Defence will issue the Defence Forces a letter of guidance on the planned reform in February 2012. Legislative preparations will be carried out so that legislative proposals can be submitted to Parliament during the autumn session of 2012. A certain part of the administrative changes are to be implemented by the end of 2013 and the main part by the end of 2014. The new Defence Forces organisation is to be up and running from the beginning of 2015.
More on the proposal on the websites of the Government (www.government.fi), the Ministry of Defence (www.defmin.fi/en) and the Defence Forces (www.mil.fi).
Inquiries: Jyrki Iivonen, Director for Public Policy, Ministry of Defence, tel. +358 9 1608 8200 or +358 50 568 0553 and Jyrki Heinonen, Director of Communications, Defence Forces, tel. +358 299 500 700