Cablegate: Comprehensive Approach Easier Said Than Done:

DE RUEHHE #0015/01 0131622
P 131622Z JAN 10



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2020


Classified By: P/E Chief Scott Brandon, Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Finnish government is justly proud of
its contributions to crisis management operations. In the
last decade alone it has deployed military and civilian
personnel to the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, and
Afghanistan as part of missions under UN, EU, OSCE, and NATO
auspices. Finnish leaders from ministers down to the
ground-level can recite the mantra of the "comprehensive
approach" to crisis management. Finnish soldiers and
civilians alike recognize the need to employ military,
diplomatic, and development tools in a coordinated manner in
order to bring stability to areas in crisis. The GOF has
formalized this approach through a number of initiatives,
including the publication of its first official comprehensive
crisis management strategy, its first guidebook for
harmonizing security and development policy, and the
establishment of a center of expertise in comprehensive
crisis management.

2. (SBU) However, the impending removal of all Finnish
civilians from its PRT in Afghanistan and the apparent lack
of operational coordination between those responsible for
development, diplomacy, and defense in Helsinki may indicate
that Finnish practice has not caught up to theory. GOF
interlocutors point to bureaucratic and legal obstacles to
interagency (and intra-agency) cooperation, as well as a lack
of qualified volunteers for OMLT and police training missions
in dangerous locales. On the bright side, the GOF has
internationally-recognized military and civilian institutions
training personnel for crisis management operations. These
institutions and the USG would benefit from partnerships
between U.S. and Finnish crisis management trainers and
researchers. END SUMMARY.


3. (U) November 9 saw the publication of Finland's first
official strategy for comprehensive crisis management (NOTE:
This document is still only available in Finnish. END NOTE).
The culmination of a year-long interagency effort led by the
MFA, the strategy's stated goal is to enhance Finland's
effectiveness by ensuring that all available tools, including
military, civilian, development cooperation, and humanitarian
assistance, are coordinated in order to achieve success.
Finland is increasingly involved in challenging areas
(Afghanistan, Chad, and Darfur are mentioned) in which its
personnel are subject to hostile actions by some in the local
population, something Finns have rarely if ever experienced
in their long history of peacekeeping (see reftel E).

4. (U) The strategy proposes several lines of action in order
to improve Finland's effectiveness in crisis management.
Firstly, Finland seeks to strengthen the EU's role as a
crisis management actor alongside other multilateral bodies
such as NATO, the UN, and the informal Nordic group of
nations. Second, it outlines a national strategy
coordination group to be established under the leadership of
the MFA consisting of personnel from relevant ministries
(Defense, Foreign Affairs, Interior) supplemented with
experts from outside government (NGOs, think tanks). This
group would monitor and assess crisis management operations
throughout the cycle from warning signs of an impending
crisis to outside intervention, conflict resolution, and

5. (U) Lastly, the strategy recommends improvements in the
recruitment of Finnish military and civilian personnel to
take part in crisis management. Finland has had difficulty
finding sufficient volunteers for all of its positions in
Kosovo, Chad, and Afghanistan. With no legal mechanism to
compel overseas service and a small standing military, around
half of its deployed forces are reservists who need to be
incentivized to leave their civilian careers for deployments.
Time spent overseas is seen by some police as harmful to
their prospects for promotion and Finland only recruits
police over thirty years old for its law enforcement training
and advising positions. Finland's shortage of female police
officers (only around 20% of the police force is female) also
makes it difficult to field sufficient female police trainers


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6. (C) MFA Security Policy and Crisis Management Unit
Director Timo Kantola, who led the interagency drafting
effort, emphasized to us that the strategy makes it clear
that civilian efforts are just as important as military ones,
something which has often been lost in the media and
political spotlight placed on Finland's overseas military
deployments. Finnish Defence Forces Operations Chief Major
General Raty picked up on the same theme in a December 10
meeting with AMB when he decried the lack of civilian experts
at the Swedish-Finnish PRT in Afghanistan. He returned from
a recent visit there seeing an unmet need for more
international civilians to mentor and support Afghan civilian
officials, especially in the police. Ad hoc mentorship of
police by Finnish soldiers is not sufficient. While the
government constantly "talks" about a comprehensive approach,
Raty does not see it in actual GOF decision-making.

7. (SBU) According to Raty, Kantola, and others, Finland
faces three main challenges in balancing its diplomacy,
development, and defense pillars in crisis management

-- (SBU) Legal Limitations: The separate statutes
authorizing military and civilian participation in crisis
management are inconsistent with one another and hinder
cooperation in the field. As an example of these problems
Kantola pointed to the withdrawal of all four of its civilian
personnel from the Swedish-Finnish PRT as of December 31 due
to frictions regarding their chain of command and security
standards (see also reftel C). The laws are not flexible
enough to allow for changing legal and political bases for
operations, such as have occurred in Chad and Georgia, making
it difficult for Finnish personnel to remain committed to an
operation when it changes from UN- to EU-led, for example,
without time-consuming additional legislative action back in
Helsinki. The laws also provide strict limits on the use of
force which hinder operations in nonpermissive environments.
Despite these shortcomings, since the laws were only passed
in the last couple of years, the government does not yet feel
the time is right to revisit them.

-- (C) Friction between Development and Crisis Management: A
few weeks after the government's comprehensive crisis
management strategy was published, the MFA published a white
paper entitled "Development and Security in Finland's
Development Policy". The last page of the white paper
contains a venn diagram in which the large oval labeled
"development cooperation" has a smaller overlapping oval
labeled "civilian crisis management", indicating none too
subtly the perspective of the authors from the Department for
Development Policy. The explanation below the diagram notes
that "nearly 90% of funding for civilian CM operations comes
from Overseas Development Assistance." The control that the
development side of the MFA has over funding has been
problematic given its uneasy working relationship with the
"policy" side of the bureaucracy. PRT activities in
Afghanistan, considered to be crisis management, are handled
by the latter but development projects and aid to NGOs in
Afghanistan by the former. Foreign Minister Stubb (NCP) and
Development and Trade Minister Vayrynen (Center) are from
different generations and backgrounds. While Stubb is a
confirmed supporter of ISAF and our strategy in Afghanistan,
Vayrynen has swayed from supporting the withdrawal of all
Finnish forces from ISAF to touting the work of Finnish NGOs
in Afghanistan (many of which receive grants from the
development budget) (see reftel E for context of Vayrynen's
remarks on ISAF). Raty identified Vayrynen's skepticism
regarding cooperation with NATO, ISAF, and even the EU as a
significant obstacle to realizing a comprehensive approach in
Finland's crisis management efforts.

-- (SBU) Getting the Right People in the Right Place:
Kantola repeated oft-heard concerns about finding sufficient
volunteers to staff Finland's present level of civilian and
military commitments. Regarding Finland's inability to fill
its 30 OMLT slots in Afghanistan (22 of which are vacant),
Kantola explained that Finland was not well prepared for
missions in which its military personnel must operate without
their own infrastructure and with a completely different
mindset than that of a "peacekeeper." (See reftel B for more
on recruitment problems.) There has been a recent uptick in
military volunteers for overseas operations, with the Defense
Ministry reporting that applications increased from 125 in
October to 329 in November. Afghanistan is the "most
desirable" destination according to the ministry. The
increase is attributed to an increase in salary as well as
improved insurance coverage.

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8. (U) One of Finland's strengths is its training of military
and civilian personnel. This is conducted by two
institutions, one military and one civilian, which have been
joined together into a "center of expertise" in comprehensive
crisis management since November 2008. The Finnish Defence
Forces International Centre (FINCENT) has a 40 year history
of training Finnish and international military personnel,
having originated as a UN training center and now providing
training through NATO/PfP and EU-approved courses as well.
Crisis Management Centre Finland (CMC), jointly-administered
by the Interior Ministry and MFA, is the civilian half of the
center of expertise. 600 students of 50 different
nationalities participate in some 50 training courses per
year at CMC. CMC leverages its co-location with a major
rescue services training facility in order to provide
realistic field training exercises to complement its
classroom instruction.

9. (U) As a part of the informal European Group on Training
(EGT), CMC has been a pioneer in developing standards for
training of civilians across the EU, resulting in the
creation of the "Certified EU Civilian Crisis Management
Course" designed to ensure that civilians taking part in any
EU crisis management mission have certain minimum
competencies. Of those trained in this "101" level course at
CMC, two-thirds are Finns. Besides its training activities,
CMC also has a research and development unit which both
collects "lessons learned" about the effectiveness of its
training and leads the development of new curricula.


10. (SBU) Recent scandals regarding the poor information flow
at the highest levels between the Defense Ministry, Foreign
Ministry, Interior Ministry, Prime Minister's Office, and the
President have resulted in stacks of critical editorials but
little else (see reftel A). As long as authority for foreign
and security policy remains divided between the President and
the government, further breakdowns seem likely. While we can
do little to improve the state of affairs at the top of the
government, we can take advantage of willing partners at the
operational level.

11. (SBU) Post has visited both FINCENT and CMC and observed
training at the latter. These institutions are open to
increased cooperation with U.S. partners. In the short run,
such cooperation could pay dividends in Afghanistan, where
hundreds of personnel from the EU's EUPOL police training
mission operate alongside U.S. military and civilian
personnel. In the long run, exchanges of faculty, students,
and researchers involved in civilian crisis management
training could improve both the willingness and capacity of
the EU to operate alongside U.S. military and civilian

12. (SBU) Post is working to promote exchanges between the
U.S. Institute of Peace and National Defense University in
Washington and CMC and FINCENT in Finland and welcomes ideas
from Washington and other EU posts with institutions focusing
on civilian crisis management. Finland participated in the
S/CRS-sponsored Stability Operations Training and Education
Workshop in October 2009 and would be receptive to proposals
to build on the discussions there.

© Scoop Media

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