Minister of Defence: Legislative amendments unnecessary for many measures to develop military service
"It is easier and quicker to influence some of the objectives and this can be carried out within the administrative branch. Several aims require more extensive assessment and preparation," Kaikkonen says.
Even without legislative amendments, the number of those starting military service can be increased by developing the assessment of fitness for service and by introducing new service duties, for example. Voluntary service can attract more women through targeted and active communications.
In addition, the number of drop-outs can be reduced by developing the initial questionnaire and selection system for those starting the service in order to match them with the most suitable positions. It is essential that the skills acquired during military service can be utilised later in studies or work.
The position of reservists will become more important as part of the reform of local defence. At the same time, the prospect of raising the upper age limit for reservists will be examined.
Gender equality will be increased by starting the preparation of the call-up system reform and by combining the assignment-for-service events for women and men. Some of the measures to develop gender equality are already under way, such as continuing the shared quartering experiment and shortening the time during which women have the right to discontinue service upon their notification.
"I would like to emphasise that many of the development measures are cross-administrative in their nature and that other administrative branches play a significant role in them," Kaikkonen says.
"We must ensure that any further development measures take place in close cooperation between the necessary parties. For example, the objective set by the Committee to develop call-ups must be carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Kaikkonen stresses that military service is an integral part of society.
"We can describe it as a national institution, for good reason. It is important that military service enjoy wide support among citizens, because without this acceptance it will not thrive."
"It is a pleasure to note that many of the development measures launched in the Defence Forces in recent years fit well with the goals and perspectives of the Committee. One example, which has been highlighted by the media too, is the ongoing study by the Defence Forces to offer military service opportunities to persons with health limitations.
"I also consider very important the Committee's view that non-military service be developed alongside military service to better serve the needs of Finland's comprehensive security," Kaikkonen adds.
Inquiries: Janne Torvinen, Special Adviser to Minister of Defence, tel. +358 295 140 433.