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This post is not a Kissinger policy wonk essay. It is a look at Finnish armed forces and what they bring to NATO.
Finland has mandatory military conscription for males that begins at the age of 18. New conscripts are called-up in August. Females have the option of joining the military. After a mandatory training period, a conscript then joins the reserves. Reserve duties, regular, and voluntary training continue until the age of 60.
The Finnish Defence Forces’ reserve comprises approximately 900,000 Finnish citizens. The wartime strength of the Finnish Defence Forces is 280,000 soldiers, and this strength is resupplied by other reservists as applicable.
Finland has a population of 5.5 million people. Having 900,000 well-trained reservists is impressive. At the present time, Finland spends about 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, NATO requires 2.0 percent. Finland is planning to increase their defense spending and increases were made after the Russian annexation of Crimea.
Finns are winter war experts, and the US and other NATO nations train in Finland. Finland has the strongest artillery forces in Western Europe, consisting of 700 howitzers, 700 heavy mortars, and 100 multiple rocket launchers.
At the present time, Finland has 55 F-18 Hornets that are also capable of landing on highways.
Rather than listing the entire inventory of the Finnish military, I was more impressed with the reserve commitment of Finland’s citizens to defend their country. The following video is a look at a pilot from Finland and his ability to fly an F-18 Hornet.