A top Defense Ministry official told YLE Monday that the Finnish Army is facing hundreds of millions of euros in spending cuts. Arto Räty, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, said that both the peacetime and wartime army will have to be cut back.
“It largely depends on the budget framework during the term in office of the next cabinet, but in any case we’re speaking of hundreds of millions of euros,” stated Räty.
According to Räty, structural changes are needed, which may include either merging or eliminating some units. He did not comment on which units may be affected, noting that this is a matter for the politicians to decide.
“I’d rather talk about the overall reform, that is not simply a change in individual parts, but rather also a reform in operational practice. This may include administrative mergers, the elimination of units, organizational change. In other words, all possible measures are certainly going to be implemented”, Räty explained.
According to Räty, the Defense Forces will be in a “new formation” by the start of 2016.
Lt. General Arto Räty took up the post of Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence as of the beginning of this year. Before the move, he was Chief of Operations for the Defense Forces.
According to the Chairman of Parliament’s Defence Committee, Juha Korkeaoja, there are significant pressures for savings measures in defense spending.
”Closing the gap in the state’s eight billion euro deficit is a challenge in all administrative sectors. From this perspective, a level of hundreds of millions in savings by the military is justified,” says Korkeaoja.
However, the Defence Committee Chairman is not keen on the idea of closing garrisons or downsizing personnel. He says he would prefer a review of efficiencies at all garrisons first.
“Before any decisions are made, we should look at how much can actually be saved by closing garrisons.”
In an interview with YLE, Korkeaoja also noted that it is possible that the Defense Forces may reopen some materials purchase contracts to new bidding and reexamine its acquisition programmes.