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Defence development to focus on army

The government on Thursday released its latest Defence Policy Report which is expected to go to Parliament for review next month. Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö told the media that for the rest of this decade, the emphasis will be on developing land forces and cross-service rapid reaction units.

Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

The nearly 150 page report (available here (siirryt toiseen palveluun) in English) ) was drawn up for the first time as a separate document. In past years it has been bundled as part of a broader report on both security and defense policy.

Speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Jussi Niinistö said that meeting any military threat will require well trained and equipped operational forces, as well as more lightly equipped local troops.

Plans call for local defense to be enhanced by more efficient use of volunteer resources. Total wartime strength of ground forces will rise to 280,000 troops. Rapid reaction units that include troops from all services will primarily aim to prevent the escalation of a situation into an attack against Finland.

During the next decade Finland will have to both modernize its fleet of fighter aircraft and procure new ships for the navy. Defense Minister Niinistö pointed out that past cuts in funding for defence materials procurement have been reversed during the term of the present government.

This item was updated to provide a working link to the English-language version of the report.