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Finnish Military Intelligence Review 2021

The following is the Finnish Defence Forces’ Finnish Military Intelligence Review 2021. The report was released this week.

From the report

Dear Reader,

You are now reading the first public review by the Finnish military intelligence (Finnish Defence Intelligence, FDI) in its over 100 years’ history. Until now, Finnish military intelligence has principally operated under a veil of secrecy. Secrecy has helped to protect organisations and personnel from intelligence activities and counteractions by foreign powers’ intelligence organisations.

Since the beginning of this millennium, the thaw that momentarily prevailed in international politics since the Cold War ended has been replaced with robust and increasing competition between key states, which is also reflected in the Finnish security environment. This has in part contributed to the need to enhance our national intelligence capabilities in order to proactively detect threats and utilise intelligence as a basis for decision-making. In 2019, the acts on military and civilian intelligence entered into force, which markedly improved the operating conditions for the Finnish intelligence organisations. Military intelligence now has clearly defined statutory duties, targets and jurisdiction. Along with the intelligence acts, the Finnish system has been transformed into a system similar to that in the other Western countries, with a military intelligence organisation and a civilian intelligence organisation (Finnish Security and Intelligence Service), clear political guidance and a comprehensive oversight system.

The need to protect military intelligence personnel and operations has not disappeared over the years. On the contrary, the activities of foreign states’ intelligence services in Finland and its neighbouring areas are once again on the Cold War level. The new Act on Military Intelligence, however, has made military intelligence more public while giving intelligence new powers and capabilities. For this reason, it is important to open military intelligence to citizens by describing what it is and how it works.

This public review will briefly introduce the Act on Military Intelligence and the tasks, targets, capabilities, operations and oversight of military intelligence. This is not a detailed description or analysis of the operating environment or operations during the past year. Instead, I hope that this review will give the reader an accurate picture of Finnish military intelligence and the significant role it has in guaranteeing national security.

Chief of Intelligence
Rear Admiral Juha Vauhkonen

Download the document here.