Senior Course 132, Regional Approaches and PfP Field Study: Helsinki
Senior Course 132, for its third and final Field Study, spent two days in Helsinki, Finland.
On June 17, Course Members were welcomed to the Finnish National Defence University (FNDU) by its Director, MajGen Ilkka Korkiamäki, who also presented the FNDU’s history, role and activities. He was followed by Commander Jukka-Pekka Schroderus, who delivered a presentation about the Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT): the presentation focused on the Finnish implementation of the Comprehensive Approach. After a coffee break, the floor was offered to Navy Captain Juhapekka Rautava from the Finnish Defence Command J5, who briefed Course Members on NORDEFCO (Nordic Defence Cooperation), the cooperation structure of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden). At the end of the day, Navy Captain Pasi Rantakari, Finnish Defence Forces, who was a Course Member of SC 128, welcomed the Senior Course on behalf of the local Anciens’ Association, of which he is Secretary.
On 18 June, again at the FNDU, SC 132 received a comprehensive set of briefings on the Finnish perception of threats and challenges in the broad context of its security policy. Mr Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, opened the session with a presentation on the country’s security policy. He offered a comprehensive review of policy issues, and presented Finnish views, actions and responses. This was followed by a Command brief from LtGen Kim Jäämeri, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Finnish Defence Command, who described the Finnish model and the role and tasks of the Defence Forces, including key figures and future developments. He also talked about international cooperation (bi- and multilateral), which was extremely interesting for Course Members because of Finland’s non-aligned status.
After a break, the Finnish authorities presented a session on “Comprehensive security”, with short briefings from three different perspectives: Mr Vesa Valtonen, Secretary General of the Security Committee (one of the preparedness forums) presented the concept; Col Kimmo Elomaa from the Border Guard talked mainly about migration; and Mr Tomi Vuori, Deputy National Police Commissioner from the National Police Board, discussed the new aspects of police practice and coordination with other organizations (military in particular). All three speakers participated in a panel to discuss the various security issues with Course Members, who were able to raise a variety of questions about the organization and coordination of all parties involved in the comprehensive security model.
After lunch, the discussions focused on threats and challenges. Professor LtCol Petteri Lalu from the FNDU Department of Warfare talked about Russia and the lessons of using warfare as an instrument of politics, while Mr Pasi Kokkonen from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered a briefing on the situation in the Baltic Sea. The third speaker was Ms Hanna Smith from the European Centre of Excellence on Countering Hybrid Threats, who explained various aspects of the work undertaken at the CoE.
All the briefings gave SC 132 a very good overview of the principles upheld by Finland, as an Enhanced Opportunity Partner (EOP) of NATO, in its approach to security: a comprehensive concept, high readiness, and extreme resilience. In Finland, national defence is everybody’s business.