Country Listing

Finland Table of Contents



Armed Forces (1988): Defense Forces consist of army of 30,000 troops (22,300 conscripts), navy of 2,700 (1,300 conscripts), and air force of 2,500 (1,300 conscripts). In time of crisis or hostilities, Fast Deployment Forces of 250,000 could be mobilized in two to three days. Full mobilization of 700,000 could be carried out in a week. Frontier Guard (Rajavartiolaitos- -RVL) of 4,500 (11,500 on mobilization) would come under military command.

Treaty Commitments: By 1947 Treaty of Paris, active Finnish armed forces limited to 41,900 persons, total warship tonnage to 10,000 tons, and combat aircraft to 60. Offensive weapons such as bombers and submarines prohibited. The 1948 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (FCMA) with Soviet Union commits Finland, with Soviet assistance if needed, to repel aggression by Germany or any state allied to it.

Conscription and Reserves: Over 90 percent of Finnish men perform eight months of military service at age twenty (eleven months for officers and noncommissioned officers in reserves). Reserve obligation continues until at least age fifty. Younger reservists subject to periodic refresher training.

Standing Forces: In 1988 army organized into 7 light infantry and 1 armored brigade, each with 1,500 to 2,000 men in peacetime, plus independent infantry battalions, field and coast artillery, and antiaircraft units. In wartime would consist of an estimated 20 to 25 brigades at full strength of 6,800 each, plus 70 independent light infantry battalions of 800 each, and other specialized units. Navy has two corvettes, eight missile boats, fast patrol craft, minelayers, and minesweepers. Air Force consists of sixty fighters organized into three squadrons, forty-seven jet training-reconnaissance aircraft convertible to attack role, and small fleet of transport and liaison aircraft.

Sources of Equipment: Finland produces close to 40 percent of its own equipment, including light arms, artillery, vehicles, munitions, hulls, and light aircraft. Soviet Union supplies about half of imports, including tanks and armored vehicles, missiles, and MiG aircraft. Remainder comes from West, including Sweden (fighter aircraft and missiles), Britain (jet trainers), France (radar and missiles), and United States (electronics and antitank missiles).

Defense Expenditures: In 1988 defense budget of US$1.47 billion was about 1.5 percent of gross national product and 5.5 percent of total government budget. Defense spending low relative to other countries of Europe.

Internal Security: Police are part of national government and operate under control of Ministry of Interior. Local police, supervised by provincial authorities and organized into town police departments and rural police districts, manage routine police work. Operating at national level and assisting local police when necessary are Mobile Police (Liikkuva--LP), responsible for traffic safety and riot control; Security Police (Suojelupoliisi--SUPO), charged with preventing subversion and espionage; and Central Criminal Police (Keskusrikospoliisi--KRP), able to mount extensive investigations, with advanced technical means when required, and maintain centralized criminal files and contacts with foreign police forces. RVL and Coast Guard, also under Ministry of Interior, responsible for security in border areas and have military role in wartime.

Data as of December 1988