National C5 Exercise Tests Capabilities
The national C5 exercise helps develop and test the functionality of command and control systems and services. The exercise, organized by the Finnish Defence Forces C5 Agency in March, includes a number of national and international partners.
The Finnish Defence Forces C5 Agency is organizing the national C5 exercise on 20-31 May 2023 in Riihimäki, with the Director of the C5 Agency, Captain (Navy) Juha Ravanti as Exercise Director. The exercise participants include over 500 C5 experts from Defence Command Finland, all of the Services and establishments subordinate to the Defence Command, from the National Defence University and the Border Guard, Finnish Police and partner businesses. International participants in the exercise are the US and Swedish Armed Forces. As international cooperation increases, the exercise has been given the name Exercise Finnish Endeavor in English.
“This is an annual exercise, and its purpose is to ensure the compatibility of the Finnish Defence Forces’ systems with our national and international partners, and to support our system development projects. We ensure that we have functioning signal and communications networks and improve the systems that use those networks. We make sure that we are able to protect these services against cyber operations,” says Exercise Director Ravanti.
He says that in the 2023 exercise, the current international situation underlines the importance of international partnerships more than in previous years. Joint operations networks, NATO compatibility solutions and other international elements provide the Finnish Defence Forces with capabilities to operate together with our partners at any time or anywhere.
“By training together, we are demonstrating our skills and equipment to our international partners, and thus help Finnish industries gain international markets for their products. “
Exercise Evolves Through Regular Testing
The C5 exercise traces its roots to 2005, but this is only the second time that the Finnish Defence Forces C5 Agency is responsible for organizing the exercise. The Finnish Defence Forces C5 Agency is an establishment subordinate to Defence Command Finland, and its key task is to organize the Defence Forces’ IT services and cyber defence.
Early on in the exercise, 50 C5 experts gathered in Riihimäki for a week to troubleshoot and solve challenges relating to the interfaces between systems. Over the years, things have developed into systematic testing of capabilities, high-quality documentation of testing and into improving the systems and activities based on the results. Riihimäki has become the main location of the exercise but a large number of this year’s tests will be conducted also at 19 of the other localities participating in the exercise.
“The exercise is evolving constantly. We are striving to enhance the testing, and are looking to find operating models that will give us the most realistic testing environment with the smallest effort: it helps to build resources to focus on the main things, Ravanti states.
In this year’s exercise we are taking big steps in using scenario-based testing. The purpose of the testing is to verify the performance of the capabilities in selected cases. Additionally, we are continued testing in interagency cooperation. We have experts form the Border Guard and Finnish Police, working together with experts from the Defence Forces to solve problems related to on-scene command and different interfaces.