Parliamentary Committee on National Defence Obligation and Conscription proposes call-up day for women as well as stronger links between non-military service and comprehensive security concept
The Parliamentary Committee submitted its report on 26 November 2021 and proposes extending the call-up system to the entire age group. The Committee has set the goal of organising a compulsory call-up day for both women and men. This would provide young people with more extensive knowledge and readiness to fulfil national defence obligation.
“Under the Constitution, the obligation to defend the country applies to everyone regardless of gender. Citizens should therefore be more closely involved in this obligation”, says Ilkka Kanerva, MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Committee.
Finland’s defence solution is based on the conscription system whose future is challenged by shrinking age groups and functional limitations that may prevent one from starting or completing military service. To stop this development, it is necessary to improve cooperation between different authorities to improve young people’s wellbeing and functional capacity. The Defence Forces will also assess the fitness for military service classification, which would allow military service with certain health limitations. The aim is to increase the number of those starting military service from the current level, with fewer people discontinuing their service.
Young people’s knowledge of national defence will be boosted at school and through the call-up system. The information provided at school would fit in well with the objectives of social studies. On the call-up day, information will be provided on the national defence obligation and general conscription, including non-military service, as well as on the possibility for women to do military service on a voluntary basis. The comprehensive security concept and the possibilities of voluntary preparedness would be discussed, too. In line with the comprehensive security concept, cooperation between the authorities, business life, NGOs and citizens secures the vital functions of society.
The Parliamentary Committee would like to strengthen the reservist period and have it included in the national defence obligation. The Government’s Defence Report emphasises the development of local defence; in the future, local troops will form a national network capable of demanding and diverse cooperation between the authorities. Maintaining contacts with reservists will be improved and their skills will be utilised in reforming local defence. The Committee considers that the age limit for reservists should be reviewed, with the aim to raise it.
From the perspective of military defence, the system is well suited for its purpose of producing reserves to defend the entire country. The will to defend the country is high and the support for the system is strong. The proposals would further strengthen the operating conditions of military national defence.
The Committee wishes to link the system of non-military service more closely with the comprehensive security concept, taking however into account the nature of non-military service based on conviction. In the future, the potential of non-military service will be directed to support the comprehensive security concept as a system based on central government needs. Non-military service will remain under civilian administration. The aim is to integrate non-military service into the work of public administration, which would make it easier to use those liable for non-military service in different states of preparedness. It would be well justified to improve the usability of those who have completed non-military service in other than military crises. The Committee sees that women should be given the opportunity to do non-military service on a voluntary basis.
Inquiries: Ilkka Kanerva, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on National Defence Obligation and Conscription. Requests for interviews: Henri Jokinen, henri.jokinen(at)eduskunta.fi, tel: +358 9 432 4055