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The Finnish Defence Forces secures Finland’s territorial integrity, the livelihood and basic rights of its population and the freedom of action of the government, as well as defends the rule of law with military force if an armed attack or a corresponding external threat is directed at Finland.

The tasks of the Defence Forces are:

  1. the military defence of Finland, including: a) monitoring the land and sea areas of Finland and its airspace and ensuring the country’s territorial integrity; b)securing the livelihood and basic rights of the population and the freedom of action of the government, as well as defending the rule of law; c) providing military training and education, guiding voluntary national defence and promoting the will to defend the country;
  2. supporting other authorities, which includes: a)work with other authorities to maintain law and order and security, prevent and stop terrorists and to secure society in general; b) taking part in rescue operations by providing equipment, personnel and expertise for the use of the rescue services;
  3. taking part in regional surveillance cooperation or otherwise providing international assistance and participating in international activities as mentioned in Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or proving assistance mentioned in Article 42 paragraph 7 of the Treaty on European Union;
  4. taking part in international military crisis management and military tasks in other international crisis management

The President of the Republic is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces. S/he has the power of decision over:

  • key principles of national military defence,
  • important changes in military defence readiness,
  • principles of implementation of military defence, as well as
  • other military activities of the Defence Forces and matters of military command that are of far reaching significance or important in principle .

The Minister of Defence makes the decision on establishing new garrisons or brigade-level units, and disbanding them, as well as making decisions on other nationally significant defence issues.

The Defence Forces are led by the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces (Chief of Defence), whose subordinates are the Commanders of the Services, the Chief of the Defence Command and the rector of the National Defence University.

The peacetime structure of the Finnish Defence Forces is as follows:

Establishments subordinate to the Defence Command:

In administrative terms, the Defence Forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defence.

During peacetime, the Finnish Defence Forces employs approximately 12,000 persons in domestic duties. Approximately 4,000 of those are civilians or have received a civilian tertiary education. The Finnish Defence Forces trains approximately 22,000 conscripts annually.

The Finnish Defence Forces maintains and develops military readiness under all circumstances and conditions. During normal conditions, the central task of the Finnish Defence Forces is capability development, and maintenance. This includes the planning, procurement, maintenance and decommissioning of weapon systems and other capabilities, as well as the training of the troops that use the weapon systems.