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Finland Military


The Finnish Defence Forces (Puolustusvoimat) is a cadre army of 16,500, of which 8,700 are professional soldiers (officers), with a standard readiness strength of 34,700 people in uniform (27,300 Army, 3,000 Navy, and 4,400 Air Force). Finland's defence budget equals about 1.4 percent of the GDP. A universal male conscription is in place, under which all men above 18 years of age serve for six, nine or twelve months. Inhabitants of Finland's Åland Islands and Jehovah's Witnesses are exempt, but there are no other general exemptions. Non-military service for thirteen months is also possible. Since 1995, Finnish women have been able to do military service as volunteers. The defence is based on a large trained reserve. During the Cold War, Finland could have mobilised 490,000 reservists in a conflict, but this number has since been reduced to some 350,000 due to ongoing budget cuts.

The Finnish Defence Forces are under the command of the Chief of Defence, who is directly subordinate to the President of the Republic in matters related to the military command.

The military branches are Finnish Army, Finnish Navy and Finnish Air Force. The Border Guard is under the Ministry of the Interior but can be incorporated into the Defence Forces when required by defence readiness.

Finland has taken part in peacekeeping operations since 1956 (the number of Finnish peacekeepers who have served since 1956 amounts to 43,000). In 2003 over a thousand Finnish peacekeepers were involved in peacekeeping operations, including UN and NATO led missions. According to the Finnish law the maximum simultaneous strength of the peacekeeping forces is limited to 2,000 soldiers.

Since 1996 the Pori Brigade has trained parts of the Finnish Rapid Deployment Force (FRDF), which can take part in international crisis management/peacekeeping operations at short notice. The Nyland/Uusimaa Brigade has started training the Amphibious Task Unit (ATU) in recent years, a joint Swedish-Finnish international task unit.

Since 2006, Finland has participated in the formation of European Union Battlegroups. As of 2007, parts of the Nordic Battle Group are being trained at the Pori Brigade.


Military branches:
Finnish Defence Forces (FDF): Army, Navy (includes coastal defence forces), Air Force (Suomen Ilmavoimat) (2006)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (October 2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,121,275
females age 18-49: 1,076,684 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 913,617
females age 18-49: 875,689 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 32,040
females age 18-49: 30,519 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2% (2005 est.)





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