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Finland is the only non-NATO EU country bordering Russia. Finland's official policy states that the 350,000 reservists with mostly ground weaponry are a sufficient deterrent. The army consists of a highly mobile field army backed up by local defence units. The army defends the national territory and its military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, instead of attempting to hold the attacking army on the frontier.

Finland's defence budget equals about 2 billion euro or 1.4-1.6 percent of the GDP. The voluntary overseas service is highly popular and troops serve around the world in UN, NATO and EU missions. Homeland defence willingness stands at around 80%, one of the highest rates in Europe.

Up until today, almost every male has spent around a year as a conscript, having basic military training and then a specialization (artillery, intelligence, marines, coastguard etc). But there are changes ahead.

Quite a few otherwise peaceful media colleagues, who became officers under conscription, disappear for a week or so each year for territorial reserve training. And it appears that the friendships formed during conscription are often lifelong.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 15th, 2011 at 03:12:37 PM EST
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