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Liaison officers ensure cooperating with ease

Publication date 24.3.2019 10.37
News item
Major Sarlin

In this exercise, Finnish liaison officers operate in the Swedish brigade headquarters as substance-matter experts of their given functional branch collecting and submitting information between the Finnish and Swedish troops. The primary mission of the liaison officers is to support the decision-making of the Commander of the brigade as well as assist the brigade headquarters in planning a range of operations.

As part of this exercise, Major Seppo Sarlin serves as the liaison officer for the forward command post of the Swedish brigade. He is tasked to provide the operational planning of the Swedish brigade headquarters with the necessary information and questions as formulated by the Finnish battalion battlegroup.

– A liaison officer is constantly needed. My task involves providing information on the capability of the Finnish battalion battlegroup to support operational planning and decision-making. This includes forwarding information concerning the readiness situation of the Finnish battalion battlegroup and the phase of its mission execution to the Commander of the brigade. And, in case necessary, I get information on which Finnish unit would be, for instance, capable of conducting a counter-attack and exactly how quickly, Major Sarlin explains.

A soldier showing a paper to another soldier

In the initial planning phase of the exercise, the liaison officers ensure that cooperating between the Finnish and Swedish actors runs with ease resulting in prompt decision-making. The specifics concerning the versatile composition and capabilities of the Finnish and Swedish troops are forwarded by the liaison officers in a series of planning meetings.

– Cooperation between us has been successful and it has been easy to familiarise with the people and the operating environment. Communicating has also been effortless as we operate in English, and I also get by in Swedish. The Finnish and Swedish troops differ from each other, feature different capabilities and, to an extent, resort to different techniques and procedures. As the combat engagement continues, we will be able to learn from each other and utilise each other’s capabilities as well as sustain communicating and reporting to ensure optimal understanding. While operating in these snowy conditions, all troops are bound to face challenges since this location now sports a thicker snow cover than what would be usual even back at home, Major Seppo Sarlin, liaison officer for the forward command post describes.