Local defence - locality as a specific strength
Part of Finland’s defence system, local defence is implemented by local units comprising local actors knowledgeable about the specific features of their given locality. During excep-tional conditions, these local units become organised as local battalions mobilised while raising readiness.
Nation-wide defence concept covering the entire country
The implementation of local defence measures is realised by all of the Finnish Defence Forces’ troops. To accomplish safeguarding society’s functions in the entirety of Finland, the units need to cooperate seamlessly. In planning and executing local defence measures, inter-agency executive assistance conducted between authorities remains sig-nificant.
Led by Commander of the Finnish Army, the coordination and leading of local defence is ordered in accordance with the Finnish Army operational chain of command. The Services and establishments subordinate to the Defence Command put forward their requests for support and cooperation to the Army Command.
Locality as a specific strength
At a practical level, local defence actors equal the local units. In emergency conditions, the local units become organised as local battalions subordinate to the military area, army corps or infantry brigade, mobilised while raising readiness.
As for the local battalions, they primarily serve as regional actors trained and equipped as required by their tasks. Although the organisation and strength of the local battalions may vary depending on the characteristics and set tasks of a given area of operation, the basic composition of the local battalions nevertheless remains somewhat identical. The seminal units of a local battalion thus include mobilisation centres, local companies, military police companies, local logistics companies as well as combat training units.
Conducting versatile tasks and missions
Local units conduct versatile tasks and missions that typically include, among others, the following:
• mobilisation of troops
• area surveillance
• target protection
• counter-special-forces operations
• inter-authority cooperation and cooperation with the municipal leadership
• supporting other units
• local logistics, supply and maintenance
Furthermore, the local units may also be utilised in defencive combat missions and limited offensive combat missions.
Local battalions as the core of local defence
The frame of the local battalion’s headquarters tends to be formed from a regional office subordinate to an Army brigade-level unit. Additionally, the personnel composition be-comes supplemented by reservists proficient in their set area of operation. In brigade-level units and regional offices, the key staff of a local battalion cooperates with local authorities and its set area’s reservists already during normal conditions.
Capable reserve and voluntary national defence training remain central
The local units considerably utilise the reservists’ competence proficiency in specific mili-tary and civilian areas of expertise, knowledgeability concerning the set area of operation and dedication for training on a voluntary basis. Apart from relying on the refresher training exercises and voluntary training exercises of the Finnish Defence Forces, the training of local units also significantly draws from the resources provided by the National Defence Training Association of Finland that in turn heavily impacts on sustaining and developing the capability of the regional battalion, in particular as regards its set capacity as the instructor of local companies.
The local defence exercise Pirkanmaa 19 now offers an excellent training framework for the local units of the Pirkanmaa region in advancing their capability in their own area of operation.
The Finnish version of this text was produced by Chief of the Pirkanmaa Regional Office leading the refresher training exercise of the local defence company organised in the Pir-kanmaa region in conjunction with the local defence exercise Pirkanmaa 19.