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Finnish Defence Forces expect political decisions pertaining to national defence


Finnish Defence Forces expect political decisions pertaining to national defence
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The Finnish Defence Forces hope that the upcoming Security and Defence Policy Report would state a outline for the development of the country’s defence.
     
When opening a national defence course on Monday, Admiral Juhani Kaskeala, the Chief of Defence of the Finnish Defence Forces, said that a clear political expression of opinion is needed on the issue of conscription, among other things.
      ”The entire age group liable for military service should be trained even in the future, in order to maintain the troops sufficiently young, skilled, and fit for service”, noted Kaskeala.
      According to Kaskeala, the number of persons fit for service is around 250,000, and the current budgetary appropriation is sufficient for them.
      However, a higher number of conscripts would pose a challenge to the country’s credible defence. Nearly one-third of the current troops of 350,000 soldiers are so badly armed and equipped that a similar standard of armament on the eve of the Winter War in 1939 would have been equal to that in the 19th century.
     
However, even with 250,000 soldiers, the Finnish Defence Forces have one of the largest armies in Europe.
      The versatile skills of the reservists as well the combination of professionals will guarantee the performance of the Defence Forces in both national and international assignments, reported Kaskeala.
      ”This means that we do not want to professionalize the Defence Forces. I hope we will receive a political blessing to this opinion”, the Chief of Defence concluded.
     
The sufficient number of salaried personnel is around 15,000 - in other words some 1,000 fewer than at present, according to Kaskeala. Half of the salaried staff are soldiers, while the other half are civilians, of whom half are women. In the next few years, the proportion of civilians will decline further.
      The soldiers also expect that the politicians would clearly outline the scope of Finland’s international operations.
      ”Thanks to our smoothly functioning military service programme, international operations are no overwhelming effort for us, as they requires only a couple of per cent of our resources. Nevertheless, the absolute focus of our operation is on national defence”, Kaskeala concluded.


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  8.4.2008 - TODAY
 Finnish Defence Forces expect political decisions pertaining to national defence

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