Finland has proven to be a worthy member of the North Atlantic Alliance in terms of key indicators of defense capability. Local radio station Yle reports that Helsinki’s military spending relative to GDP is higher than that of many NATO members. According to this indicator, Finland is ahead of richer countries such as France or Norway.
The country’s authorities spend 1.96% of total GDP on defence, which is close to the alliance’s 2% target. More military spending is only included in the budgets of the United States, Poland, Estonia and Great Britain. In absolute terms, the United States leads in spending on its armed forces. Washington needs to support 1.3 million soldiers, while only 30,000 soldiers serve in the Finnish army in peacetime.
In terms of active military, the country of 5.6 million people is tied with the Czech Republic, which has twice as many people. In addition to the soldiers in the ranks, Finland has a large mobilization reserve. Helsinki also has large stocks of military equipment and ammunition for veteran NATO members. In particular, the country has 240 tanks in service, while in more militant Poland there are currently only 137 such vehicles, and in more prosperous Norway – only 36 units.
In addition, the alliance partners have access to an extensive transport network in northern Europe, close to the very borders of Russia. Thanks to highways and railways, NATO members will be able to move military equipment to the northernmost regions of the European continent, as well as conduct exercises in conditions as close as possible to the Russian climate.