Government proposes new legislation on military intelligence
On 25.1.2018, the Government submitted to Parliament a proposal for an act on military intelligence and related legislation.
Military intelligence is a key part of Finland’s defence readiness. The purpose is to monitor developments in the security environment and produce information on the current situation to support the decision-making of the top political and military leaders. Military intelligence provides advance warning of military threats against Finland and supports other authorities.
The Defence Forces’ powers to gather intelligence are inadequate compared to other countries and the changed security environment.
Technology has made strong progress and military communications has moved from an analogue environment to a digital one. As a result, without powers specified in legislation it is very difficult to gain access to critical intelligence.
The proposal would improve the Defence Forces’ ability to gather intelligence on serious international threats related to the defence tasks as the Defence Forces would be granted powers to conduct human intelligence, information system intelligence, radio signals intelligence, and telecommunications intelligence.
The purpose of military intelligence would be to gather information in Finland and abroad. Intelligence targets military activities, such as activities by a foreign country’s armed forces and troops comparable to them, intelligence targeting Finland’s national defence, development and distribution of military supplies and action that may endanger Finland’s national defence or functions vital for society.
In addition, the new legislation would include provisions on the principles of intelligence activities, and the directing and oversight of intelligence operations in the defence administration. Military intelligence authorities would include the Defence Command Finland and the Finnish Defence Forces Intelligence Agency.
The legislative proposals included in the government proposal can be considered in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, with the exception of proposals on powers that pertain to the secrecy of confidential communications. It would be possible, however, to lay down provisions on them in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, pursuant to the proposed new grounds for limitation regarding intelligence gathering under section 10, subsection 4 of the Constitution.
Inquiries: Hanna Nordström, Director of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Defence, tel. +358 295 140 600.