Since 2002, Finnish soldiers have been working alongside Allied forces as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Currently, some 136 Finnish personnel are deployed in the country, primarily with a Provincial Reconstruction Team in the north of the country. The focus of the Finnish contribution is gradually shifting towards training and capacity-building of Afghan security forces. Since 2007, Finland has contributed 1.7 million euro to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund. Finland also contributes to a project conducted under the NATO-Russia Council aimed at training counternarcotics personnel from Afghanistan and other Central Asian partner countries.
Finnish forces have also played significant roles in securing peace in the former Yugoslavia. Some 22 soldiers are now operating with the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). In the past, Finland contributed a battalion to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Finland started participating in the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2012. Specific participation or involvement in any particular NRF operation would require a sovereign decision by Finland.
Finland’s role in training the forces of partner countries, particularly in peacekeeping, is greatly valued by the Allies. In July 2001, NATO formally recognized the Finnish International Centre in Ninisalo as a PfP Training Centre.
Finland also regularly participates in NATO and PfP exercises. Recent examples include the March 2011 Baltic Region Training Event, conducted by NATO Air Command Ramstein, which aimed to enhance interoperability and build capabilities in the Baltic states; the November 2012 Exercise Steadfast Juncture, a command post exercise which took place at the Amari Air Base, Estonia, focused on the command and control of a fictitious NATO-led crisis response operation involving the NRF; and the November 2012 Cyber Coalition exercise, a procedural exercise designed to give participants a better understanding of cyber defence capabilities and to identify areas for improvement.
Among other forces, Finland has declared one mechanized infantry battalion group and one combat engineer unit, a coastal mine hunter and a small number of fixed wing aircraft as potentially available for exercises and operations.
Finland plays an active part in a number of multinational projects for the development of capabilities. It has joined the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) programme, participating along with Sweden and ten NATO Allies in the operation of three C-17 transport aircraft based in Hungary. Continuation of a related initiative, the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS), which leases Russian and Ukrainian Antonov transport aircraft,beyond 2012 is being evaluated.
The country is also working with Nordic NATO Allies and partners on the establishment of a joint multinational headquarters in Germany, a harbor protection system and a deployable system for the surveillance of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents. Finland is a member of the Movement Coordination Center Europe (MCCE) and is participating in the Air Transport and Air Refueling Exchange System (ATARES), as well as the Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE).
Finland is also participating in the NATO-Russia Council’s Cooperative Airspace Initiative, which is aimed at preventing terrorists from using aircraft to launch attacks similar to those of 9/11.
Finland’s close ties with its neighbours Norway, Denmark and Sweden have resulted in Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), a further practical and efficient way for like-minded stat