Finnish Army exercises inter-agency readiness

Finnish police is operating across the border to Sweden in the twin cities of Tornio and Haparanda. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

With growing threat of hybrid operations, a wide range of stakeholders will train combat for protection of vital society functions in Lapland.

Led by the Army, the exercises are part of Finland’s wider defense effort aimed at tackling all sorts of troubles that could emerge across the country in times of crisis.

Altogether six local defence exercises will take place all over Finland until mid-March, with Lapland region starting this Saturday.

“We exercise cooperation, information exchange, as well as command, control and communications between authorities to ensure seamless cooperation in all situations. We make full use of the lessons identified in the exercises relating to cooperation development,” Army Brigadier General Tero Ylitalo says.

Participating agencies in Lapland are the Police, Border Guards, Hospital, Coast Guard, Customs, Finavia, Rescue Department, Tornio City and others like the industrial company Outokumpu.

Importance of regional expertise 

The local defence exercises will be recognisable in inhabited built-up areas with a high number of military vehicles on the move. Some of the exercises will involve flight operation activity, the Finnish Army informs.

Apart from enabling the use of the Army operational forces, the local defence units’ capability also safeguards mobilisation of other units, protects society’s vital functions, and prevents disruptions from spreading further.

“In local defence exercises, active reservists with solid knowledge of their own area of operation get to exercise their set missions with other units, and do so comprehensively and progressively,” General Ylitalo states.

A total of about 3,800 personnel from the Finnish Defence Forces will participate in the exercises that end a week before Finland together with Sweden join the larger Norwegian-led NATO exercise Cold Response in mid-March.

Like Norway, Finland’s northernmost region Lapland shares border to Russia’s heavily militarized Kola Peninsula. The Nordic countries have in recent years been strengthening their capability to do joint operations in peacetime, crisis and war.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Britain offers Canadian military help to defend the Arctic, CBC News

Finland: Nordic fighter jet exercises underway inside Arctic Circle, The Independent Barents Observer

Iceland: Nordics should aim for common approach to China’s Arctic involvement says report, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Two NATO carrier groups will sail north for exercise Cold Response, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Northern Fleet exercise area overlaps into Norway’s EEZ amid Europe tensions,The Independent Barents Observer

United States:  Putin, Biden talk Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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