Finland’s participation in international training and exercises
The Ministry of Defence will publish a press release always after the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy have outlined Finland’s participation in international training and exercise cooperation, the Minister of Defence has approved the Defence Forces’ exercise plan and the Parliament has been informed.
General information on Finland’s participation in international training and exercises
International training and exercises are a part of maintaining, developing and demonstrating Finland’s defence capability. They also support Finland's participation in the provision and reception of international assistance and international crisis management.
International training and exercises are an important element of defence cooperation carried out on complementary fora among the Nordic countries, the EU and NATO, and through multilateral and bilateral cooperation. While defence cooperation strengthens defence capability in normal conditions and emergencies, it also improves the ability to prevent threats. Cooperation in normal conditions creates the basis for cooperation in emergencies. The trust and abilities required by cooperation are built through solid and sustained work during normal conditions.
The plans to participate in international training and exercises are made with a long-term perspective to bring added value to Finland’s defence. When considering whether to participate, the focus is on exercises that will in the best possible way to develop the performance, interoperability and readiness of the Defence Forces’ troops. Participation focuses on demanding international exercises. Finland will also participate in and benefit from exercises which it cannot arrange or which are not expedient to arrange, and exercises that offer training in specific capabilities not available in Finland. Other factors to be considered include participation in Rapid Response Forces and the objectives set for bilateral and multilateral defence cooperation.
Finland has continued to systematically open national exercises for countries that are important from the Defence Forces’ perspective. All the opened training and exercise events are based on invitations. Through the international exercises, arranged or hosted by Finland, it is possible to practise, in a cost-effective way, defence by all three Services, reception of assistance including host-nation support arrangements and the use of a command and control system. Cross Border Training (CBT) will be developed with Nordic troops and troops deployed in neighbouring regions. Apart from the air forces, cooperation will be increasingly carried out in the future with army and navy troops and special forces.
Some of the exercises arranged by NATO contain the Article 5 element. Because of NATO’s changed focus, this element is further strengthened through the exercises carried out by NATO and the member countries. Also partner countries are invited to these exercises. Finland participates in NATO exercises always as a partner country and from the national perspective;
Finland’s participation in international training and exercises is always considered on a case by case basis. The President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy (P-MCFSP) outline, on an annual basis, the focal points of the Defence Forces’ international exercises while they also discuss participation in exercises the following year. The Minister of Defence then approves the Defence Forces’ exercise plan and informs the Parliament.
The P-MCFSP outlined, on 1.12.2017, Finland’s participation in international training and exercises in 2018. Based on this, the Minister of Defence approved the Defence Forces’ training and exercise plan for 2018.
Finland’s participation in international training and exercises in 2018
Participation in international training and exercises in 2018 therefore continues the sustained participation and development of cooperation over the recent years. The goal is to develop overall readiness and capabilities and the staff’s capacity building.
Increasing defence cooperation with Sweden, the United States and NATO will naturally have an effect on the training and exercise cooperation with them, as to both the contents and the extent. The focus will be on demanding international exercises.
The Defence Forces’ plan for the 2018 international training and exercises includes 81 different events in Finland and abroad. The number of events will remain at the same level as in recent years (84 in 2017). NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise will be the most important international exercise for the Defence Forces in 2018.
The costs will be covered from the Defence Forces’ operating expenditure. The costs of the 2018 plan are estimated at about EUR 8.8 million (about EUR 5.0 million in 2017). The increased costs are due to three exercises: Trident Juncture, Northern Coasts and Red Flag; the total costs of these are about EUR 5.5 million.
As to the Army, the ARROW exercise for the mechanised units, and the NORTHER exercise for army units and the use of fire are the most important international exercises; these will be arranged in Finland and opened for partner countries. Other important exercises include SIIL, the main military exercise of the Estonian Defence Forces and SABER STRIKE, an exercise which will be arranged in the Baltic States. Special Forces will continue to train in the NORTHERN GRIFFIN exercise in Lapland.
The Navy’s most important international exercise in 2018 will be the multilateral Northern Coasts (NOCO) naval exercise, which will be led and hosted by Finland already for the third time, and Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise in the Baltic Sea. Naval activities with a number of new exercises reflect the deepening bilateral cooperation between Finland and Sweden. The Navy also seeks to introduce cross-border cooperation with Sweden in the same way that has been done in the Air Force.
The Air Force continues to focus on the Nordic cross-border training and exercise flight operations next year as their most important exercise entity. Another important entity will be training and exercise cooperation with NATO and US air force detachments that are deployed in the Baltic Sea area and the Baltic States. Finnish and Swedish air forces will continue their close cooperation in shared exercises; Finland’s air force will take part in Sweden’s main military exercise in Sweden next year. As to single exercises, the most important one for the Air Force will be the Red Flag exercise in the United States. In addition, a squadron visit from the United States to Finland is planned for 2018. The Air Force will also take part in the Ramstein Alloy exercise as in the previous years.
The Defence Forces will inform in advance of all international exercises and training events that are taking place in line with the approved plan. For more information, please refer to www.mil.fi.
Examples on international training and exercise events in which Finland will participate or which will be organised by Finland in 2018: Finland_participation in international training and exercises_2018 (pdf) (379 KB)