Commander of the Finnish Army: Reviving the communal spirit of a joint effort

Army 15.11.2018 10.56
News item

The Finnish-Swedish cooperation can be distilled into the same principles as the communal spirit of a joint effort. Offer help and you will receive aid when necessary. In accordance with the political steering for Finnish-Swedish cooperation, no prior restraints are set for conducting military cooperation between Finland and Sweden. The Finnish Army has promptly proceeded in the direction set by this steering with determination. In just a couple of years, we have reached a phase in which Finnish units naturally operate as part of a Swedish entity and vice versa, writes Commander of the Finnish Army.

Over the past week I went to a movie theatre to watch the most recently released Finnish movie titled Oma maa, Land of Hope. A story of the post-war generation’s resettlement endeavours, overall resilience and communal spirit of a joint effort, this movie well portrayed how clearing the land base for farm operation in cold farm settlements required pitching in nearly superhuman effort. This also marked the point in time when the communal spirit of a joint effort kicked in big time. Getting help from the neighbour in both clearing the fields and building the farmhouse came to people naturally based on a win-win notion. When I now give my neighbour a helping hand, I know that I will be the beneficiary when I need help in turn. Now, this is indeed a fine and noble-minded motivation, isn’t it?

The Finnish-Swedish cooperation can be distilled into the same upright principles as the communal spirit of a joint effort. Offer help and you will receive aid when necessary. In accordance with the political steering for Finnish-Swedish cooperation, no prior restraints are set for conducting military cooperation between Finland and Sweden. The Finnish Army and the Swedish Army have promptly proceeded in the direction set by this steering with determination. In just a couple of years, we have reached a phase in which Finnish units naturally operate as part of a Swedish entity and vice versa. Training exercise events that involve cross-border training between brigade-level units are now part of the training system.

The training exercise Arctic Shield that will be organised in Northern Finland this December will be participated for the first time by a battalion-strength Swedish training detachment operating as part of a Finnish force. And again in March it will be the other way around when the training exercise Northern Wind will have a battalion-strength Finnish training detachment defend Northern Sweden operating as part of a Swedish Brigade. Now what else would this be but an embodiment of the communal spirit of a joint effort? Both the cooperating parties are the beneficiaries. In this case the classic Finnish mathematics manual by Ojala does not apply, since one plus one will equal more than two.

Conducting cooperation between the Finnish Army and Swedish Army runs smoothly. We share a joint cultural background – meaning that we take each other at face value in that what is said out loud will also apply. On the level of combat techniques and procedures, both the nations resort to their own languages, and on the higher echelon the orders and instructions are issued by utilising English. One will support the other by means of those capabilities that the other may be lacking. Take, for instance, the case of forward observers: while operating in the Finnish territory, Finland will position her own forward observers in the Swedish detachments, and Sweden will provide us support by forward air controllers. And things get done.

It has been rewarding to develop this cooperating together with my Swedish colleague. The Armies of both these nations have embraced this matter. Obviously, strong political support provides the prerequisite for facilitated cooperation, but it is the commitment of individual soldiers that will make this communal spirit of a joint effort truly worthwhile.

 

Waiting for the results of the call-ups

Commander of the Finnish Army
Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko