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Major training exercise to bring over EUR 10 million to the area

Defence Forces
Publication date 14.3.2024 12.35
News item

Ending on Friday, the NATO exercise Nordic Response 24 has brought to the exercise area of Northern Finland alongside thousands of soldiers also economic vitality.

For the exercise, the allies have requested a variety of services and goods from Finland. The total value of the supplies requested will add up to c. EUR 10,6 million. Examples of the requests submitted include fuel, food, facility services, and snow-ploughing.

Additionally, Nordic Response 24 has contributed to a significant number of customers for companies and service providers in the exercise area (stores, kiosks, accommodation providers) as during the course of the exercise altogether up to c. 4,100 soldiers from Finland, 3,000 soldiers from Sweden, 400 soldiers from France, and 50 soldiers from the U.K. have trained in Finland. The major NATO exercise has also offered wide national and international media coverage for the area.

Exercise success resulting from good co-operating

Since the exercise’s planning phase, the Finnish Defence Forces have co-operated closely with the actors of the municipality of Enontekiö and of the region overall. According to Mayor of Enontekiö Petri Härkönen, the municipality and its residents have been well informed. The media briefing organised by the Finnish Defence Forces for the entrepreneurs in the area of Hetta contributed to successful co-operating.

– The planning officers of the exercise deserve major credit for all this, as co-operating has proceeded very well via them. The local conditions in the region have been well considered, and issues have been agreed on with the Reindeer Herders Association. The area was frequented by soldiers even before the exercise start to familiarise with the area and talk with the locals, Mayor Härkönen says.

According to Mayor Härkönen, the exercise has been truly visible in Enontekiö.

– The exercise has indeed been visible locally. During the concentration marches the road network went through heavy times. During the exercise, in the village centre of Hetta, the stores were frequented by visitors and armoured vehicles were on the move. The airfield served as the hub for the Swedish logistics centre. Considering the amount of equipment and number of troops, the damage induced has been minimal, Mayor Härkönen points out.

Mayor Härkönen is convinced that the locals were positive about all this activity already well before the exercise start. 

– The locals have been very positive about the training and exercise activity. The only negative comments that I have observed have been voiced by people who live elsewhere. I fully understand that it is difficult to get the information out to all real-estate owners. This in mind I have to say that all has been done very well.

– Thanks to the Finnish Defence Forces for co-operating with us and welcome here again. 

Brigadier General Rickard Johansson (vas.), Mayor Petri Härkönen and Brigadier General Sami-Antti Takamaa.

Finnish Defence Forces train and exercise responsibly

Local residents’ contribution to the exercise is important and valuable also in terms of the type of feedback provided. Alongside the exercise troops, the locals provide information relating to environmental protection and damage incident control. Co-operating with the locals has been smooth, and nearly all have expressed understanding for the Finnish Defence Forces’ training and exercise activity. The Finnish Defence Forces’ have assigned specific personnel for the purpose of processing any incidents involving damages and injuries.

– This exercise has so far involved altogether 33 reports concerning damages and injuries as well as incidents that have made people wonder. In an exercise of this scale, the total number is exceptionally low, says Captain Toni Sulasalmi who is tasked to process the incidents relating to damages and injuries in Nordic Response 24.

The most common cases involving damage concern roads and junctions damaged resulting from mechanised units exiting from/returning to a road or driving their heavy vehicles to the roadside. All reports are processed and examined, and will result in contacting the parties involved. The means available for arriving at consensus include, for instance, coming to an agreement while on site or by repairing the damage.