Finland To Deploy Quick Response Units Along Russian Border

Finnish soldiersFinland’s Armed Forces Command has added a quick response dynamic with plans to locate rapid reaction units (RRUs) to military districts that fall under the command of the country’s four military provinces.

Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö described the initiative as necessary to strengthen operational readiness and bolster Finland’s overall defense and deterrence capabilities against rising regional tensions over Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

The focus of deployment for the RRUs, which constitute a new feature within Finland’s territorial-based, infantry-centered defense strategy, will be military districts close to Finland’s 833-mile border with Russia.

Finnish territorial defense doctrine traditionally has been to use mobile field Army units backed by mainly local reserve forces to counter, delay, repel and inflict heavy losses on aggressors attacking across Finland’s heavily forested, lake-rich frontier and inland terrains.

The RRUs will add a front-line rapid deployment combat force to the military’s arsenal. The modular-type structure will enable RRUs to be used in defensive and offensive forward roles.

The RRUs are intended to comprise a mix of career officers and soldiers, as well as troops drawn from special forces units, retrained reservists and conscripts.

“The deployment of troops is our touchstone. Both the Air Force and Navy have a rapid-response capability, and this is the challenge that the Army now has,” Niinistö said….

Finland must reform its preparedness so that our defense organization and structures are at an appropriate level. It is legislation that is lagging behind right now,” [Chairman of Finland’s Parliamentary Defense Committee Ilkka] Kanerva said.

The Finnish armed forces has a standing strength of 12,000 troops. The conscript-centered armed forces, based on current reservist numbers, can mobilize up to 230,000 combat troops and service personnel within one to four weeks. About 21,600 conscripts are expected to complete their call-up training in 2015.

Image: Finnish soldiers (photo: Finnish Defence Forces)