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Defence Staff denies allegations of deteriorating quality among Finnish officers
Fresh doctoral thesis claims that Finland’s officer training is in crisis
Colonel Hannu Hyppönen from the Defence Staff denies the fresh allegations according to which the training of military officers is in deep crisis in Finland.
“I disagree completely”, says Hyppönen.
A doctoral dissertation by Mika Aalto, M.Sc. (Econ.) was examined at Aalto University School of Economics on Thursday. In his study sharply Aalto criticises the present selection and recruitment methods of military cadets in the country.
According to the study, the quality of the cadets has fallen noticeably after the training system reform implemented in 2001. In 2001 the college officer and cadet training programmes were moved together into the same Finnish National Defence University.
According to Aalto there are no longer academically gifted strategists in the Defence Forces. Such “lone rangers” are what the Defence Forces would badly need at the top of its rank structure as future generals.
Colonel Hyppönen denies that academic capabilities would have no merit in the entrance examinations.
“According to Aalto, the entrance examinations do not take academic study skills sufficiently into account. Yet, in the examinations the weighing of academic capabilities is no less than 76 per cent.”
Hyppönen nevertheless does not deny that after the 2001 reform the standard of average students in the cadet training programme has declined from what it was before.
In Hyppönen’s view the average competence level of student body is lower because now also the students who previously would have sought to be trained at a lower level level are included in the programme.
“But the very top guys are as good as before. Perhaps the average has gone done a little bit because the number of applicants is now higher.”
According to Hyppönen, henceforth, the cadets’ suitability especially as officers has to be ensured:
“Is academic strategic intelligence the main criterion for duties as an officer, when only five per cent of the country’s officers actually serve in strategic command roles? We have no difficulties finding that five per cent.”