Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command Norfolk Visited Finland
Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command Norfolk, Rear Admiral Tim Henry visited Finland from 5 to 6 February 2024. The programme included visits in Defence Command Finland and the Army Command. In the Defence Command, the visit was hosted by the Chief of the Defence Command, Lieutenant General Vesa Virtanen. In the Army Command, the visit was hosted by the Commander of the Finnish Army, Lieutenant General Pasi Välimäki.
Rear Admiral Henry was familiarized with the Finnish defence system, the general military situation and operational environment. The discussions covered comprehensively entities affecting NATO’s joint planning. In the course of his visit, Rear Admiral Henry also met Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Esa Pulkkinen.
During the visit in the Defence Command, discussions involved i.a. strategic and operational planning and their integration. In addition, increasing the number of Finnish personnel in NATO’s command structures was also discussed. According to the Chief of the Defence Command, Lieutenant General Vesa Virtanen, conducting an open dialogue is important as military integration advances.
– NATO’s all three Joint Force Commands are central cooperation partners for us in the command structure. It is important that we were able to conduct an open dialogue with Rear Admiral Henry about key issues involving both parties. Our comprehensive defence plan has gained its shape as a result of years of development. Along with Finland’s NATO membership, we are integrating our plan with that of our Allies. The discussions conducted during the visit create a good foundation for continuing this work.
The discussions in the Army Command covered the structure, activities and readiness of the Army. The discussions involved the operational environment, the changing weather and other conditions in the Nordic region and their impacts on the implementation of national defence and training of troops.
– The discussions with Rear Admiral Henry increased on both sides an understanding of the operational environment and military cooperation in the Nordic region. We were able to acquaint him with the Finnish general conscription system and special characteristics of the Army’s activities that are important to us. In the discussions during that day we learned about the views of current importance of the Joint Force Command Norfolk involving joint planning and activities. This gives us a good foundation for continuing working together, Commander of the Finnish Army, Lieutenant General Pasi Välimäki says.
According to Rear Admiral Henry, the visit to Finland was a rewarding experience. He says that the discussions have improved understanding of the local operational environment and deepened co-operation:
– Finland is an important and valued member of the Alliance and I am grateful to have been invited by the Finnish Defence Forces to discuss Finland’s military situation and their operational environment. It was a valuable visit which has improved Joint Force Command Norfolk’s understanding and has informed our planning processes. My thanks to Lieutenant General Vesa Virtanen and Lieutenant General Pasi Välimäki and their staffs for hosting me so well and I look forward to continuing to work together in the future.
Joint Force Command Norfolk, located in Virginia, United States is one of NATO’s three operational level commands that plan, execute and support the Alliance's military operations.