Finland’s officers’ union supports NATO membership

 The NATO/OTAN logo in Norfolk, Virginia in 2012. (Paul J. Richards / AFP)
The NATO/OTAN logo in Norfolk, Virginia in 2012. (Paul J. Richards / AFP)
According to a Finnish Officers’ Union survey, current budgetary allocations for defence are insufficient for maintaining security.

The majority favour NATO membership.

According to the Finnish Officers’ Union, the professional organisation for officers of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Border Guard, current resources are seriously lacking and NATO membership is a solution that is strongly supported by the union.

Union members surveyed were presented with the following statement: “The defence budget is sufficient for an independent and credible defence force.”

According to the results, 38 percent of respondents totally disagreed with the statement, while 39 percent said that they disagreed somewhat. Only two percent of respondents totally agreed with the statement.

“Almost 80 percent of officers don’t believe that we have an independent and credible defence force,” says the Finnish Officers’ Union General Secretary Hannu Sipilä.

Clear support for NATO membership

In addition, the survey showed that the officers’ support for NATO membership has continued to be very strong.

Sipilä says this a clear outcome of the fact that defence funding is considered insufficient.

“When asked whether Finland should consider NATO membership, 51 percent said ‘yes’ and 32 percent said ‘no.’ Seventeen percent did not want to give an answer,” says Sipilä.

The survey also found that NATO membership was favoured by high-ranking officers.

“Particularly colonels and generals, 68 percent of senior officers were in favour of NATO membership as compared with 26 percent of senior officers who opposed it,” says Sipilä.

But despite the support of NATO membership, the officers surveyed stressed the importance of maintaining independent and credible Finnish defence forces.

“NATO would only add value to our own independent defence forces,” says Sipilä.

Only two percent of the officer corps were of the opinion that the current political leadership has worked successfully on behalf of national defence.

“A clear majority of officers believe that our political leaders have failed in matters of national defence,” says Sipilä.

Taloustutkimus Research carried out the survey between November 21 and December 30, 2013. There were 2,312 respondents out of 6,000 Finnish Officers’ Union members. Respondents included 256 generals, commodores and admirals, along with some retired military officers.

Related Links:

Finland: Finland’s NATO membership no substitute for strong national, Yle News

Sweden: Sweden providing jets to NATO, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. official criticises Russia for meddling in Finland’s NATO, Yle News

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