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Local defence exercises of the Army prepare for disturbance situations in society

Publication date 22.2.2021 11.11 | Published in English on 25.2.2021 at 13.52
Press release
kuva jossa panssariajoneuvo ajaa kaupungin keskusta-alueella

Over the coming weeks 9 and 10, the Finnish Defence Forces and different authorities will train local defence tasks across Finland. The local defence exercises contribute to improved inter-executive cooperation in disturbance situations, and to local defence readiness in responding to rapid changes in the security situation.

Local defence covers all of Finland. Organised across Finland, these altogether five local defence exercises will be participated by circa 4,500 representatives from the Finnish Defence Forces and different authorities. Local security is based on preparedness and training conducted in cooperation with authorities, private sector actors, local defence units, as well as the residents in a given locality.

- The local units formed of reservists and salaried service personnel carry out a key task in securing society’s vital functions and running everyday life on the local level in all situations. Local units’ capability prevents disturbance situations from spreading in wider areas, Deputy Chief of Staff Army Operations, Brigadier General Rami Saari points out.

Wartime units utilised for local combat and support missions, the local units’ strength draws on solid knowledge of one’s own area of operations combined with task-dependent bespoke equipment and training. The local units undertake training and operate the equipment in accordance with their set tasks. Apart from mobilization of units, the local units’ tasks include area surveillance, protection of targets, combat missions such as counter-special forces operations, cooperation with authorities and municipalities, as well as providing support to other units.

- Local defence exercises offer excellent opportunities for training the units’ tasks and bringing together the functions sustained by the Finnish Defence Forces and different authorities. The objective is to enable using the Finnish Defence Forces’ troops and capabilities for securing society’s functions in all of Finland. The feedback and observations accrued while training will inform the development of local defence activity, Brigadier General Saari says. 

The exercises are in accordance with the Finnish Defence Forces’ Action Plan. The Army exercise activity is based on emergency situation duties and development of units’ capability and competence. The local defence exercises will be visible in urban areas with a high number of military vehicles on the move, including armoured personnel carriers. Exercise-related flight activities will be part of some of these exercises. While undertaking training, the exercise troops will use blank ammunition that do not pose a threat to bystanders but will cause some noise. 

Reservist – attend an exercise only when healthy!

The local defence exercises follow the recommendations by the government and Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) concerning hand hygiene, coughing etiquette and safety distances. The exercise implementation also accounts for the Finnish Defence Forces’ national, regional and local restrictions relating to the coronavirus situation. If you have received the order to report to a local defence exercise and feel unwell, please promptly contact your own Regional Office. In case with symptoms or ill, do not attend an exercise. If you arrive at the exercise by public transport, please mask up in accordance with the recommendation by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

Protective gear such as face masks will be used as applicable during troop transportation. In the designated unit, the protective gear will be used as applicable. The Finnish Defence Forces will supply the reservists attending a refresher training exercise or a voluntary exercise with face masks. The reservists will be in no contact with the conscript detachments. When necessary, the reservists will be divided into a number of contingents. 

The brigade-level unit organising the given exercise will instruct the reservists arriving at an exercise on the protection measures. 

Five local defence exercises

Lapland and North Ostrobothnia 2021

  • Exercise time:  26.2.-5.3.2021
  • Exercise area: North Ostrobothnia, Lapland (Oulu, Rovaniemi, Sodankylä, Ivalo)
  • Number of troops: c. 1,200 personnel
  • Number of vehicles: c. 250 vehicles
  • Participating authorities: Police, Finnish Border Guard, Rescue Department, North Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Kainuu Social Welfare and Health District, North Finland Regional State Administrative Agency, Lapland Regional State Administrative Agency, Customs, Judiciary, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and Environment 
  • Exercise Director: Colonel Mika Seppä 
  • Exercise PIOs: PIO Satu Hujanen (North Ostrobothnia), tel. +358 299 451 113, [email protected], and PIO Taina Pirinen (Lapland), tel. +358 299 452 346, [email protected]

Kehä 2021

  • Exercise time: 6.-11.3.2021
  • Exercise area: Capital city area; Helsinki and East Uusimaa, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
  • Number of troops: c. 750 personnel
  • Number of vehicles: c. 150 vehicles
  • Participating authorities: East Uusimaa Police, Helsinki Rescue Department, Finnish Border Guard
  • Exercise Director: Colonel Rainer Kuosmanen
  • Exercise PIO: Lotta Laaksonen, tel. +358 299 421 233, [email protected] 

Salo 2021

  • Exercise time: 8-12.3.2021
  • Exercise area: Säkylä, Salo, Oripää, Kemiönsaari/Säkylä Garrison, Oripää Airfield and Kiikala Airfield
  • Number of troops: c. 700 personnel
  • Participating authorities: Southwest Finland Police, Southwest Finland Rescue Department, West Finland Cost Guard District, (Southwest Finland Hospital District)
  • Exercise Director: Colonel Riku Suikkanen
  • Exercise PIO: Viljami Honkiniemi, tel. +358 299 441 308, [email protected]

Pirkanmaa 2021

  • Exercise time: 8. - 12.3.2021
  • Exercise area: Pirkanmaa / Kanta-Häme 
  • Number of troops: c. 820 personnel
  • Number of vehicles and of armoured vehicles: tens of vehicles
  • Participating authorities: Police, Rescue Department, Tampere City
  • Exercise Director: Colonel Kari Kaakinen
  • Exercise PIO: Kirsi Lehto, tel. +358 299 442 414, [email protected]

Kymi 2021

  • Exercise time: 8.-11.3.2021
  • Exercise area: Region of Kouvola
  • Number of troops: c. 1,000 personnel
  • Exercise Director: Colonel Petri Olli
  • Exercise PIO: Päivi Visuri, tel. +358 299 431 107, [email protected]