Local Defence troops (Finland)

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Territorial Forces
Maakuntajoukkojen tunnukset.png
Active 14 February 2007–present
Country  Finland
Branch Finnish Army, Finnish Navy, Finnish Air Force
Type Infantry
Role Land (local defence)
Size 28 companies
Picture of sleeve insigna for Territorial Forces under command of military province of Western Finland

Territorial Forces, or Local Defence units and Volunteer reserve units (Maakuntajoukot in Finnish) are regional forces of Finnish Defence Forces composed of volunteer reservists who have signed a contract which obliges them to do certain tasks during a crisis. Finnish Defence Forces and, under oversight of the FDF, National Defence Training Association of Finland are responsible for training of troops. Territorial Forces are composed of Territorial Companies, each of which is under command of Military province of their area (Sotilaslääni, four in total, divided to 19 military districts (aluetoimisto)), in total there are 28 companies.

Most important duties for Territorial Forces are protection, guarding, oversight and defence of certain targets and the area of their respective military district in general. In addition, Territorial Forces are tasked to provide assistance upon request to police and/or fire departments and other officials. During war, Territorial companies will fall under direct command of their respective headquarters of their respective Military province just as they are in peace time. Members of the Territorial Forces have their personal equipment (excluding combat items such as vests, ballistic protection & helmets and weapons) at home on loan from the FDF, allowing quick mobilisation of troops in case of crisis since they only need to add combat equipment, vehicles, signalling equipment and supplies to be completely ready. These will be provided by garrisons and/or other military installations within or at least near to the military district the company in question is located in. Companies are always composed of reservists from area of certain military district within military province in question, providing an advantage of knowing the area of operations. Troops are trained regularly and their physical abilities are tested annually with conditions of suitability for troops set higher than basic expectations for professional soldiers of FDF.

Creation[edit]

In 1990 Finland declared the military restrictions of the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947 obsolete, which among other things had forbidden the military training outside of the Finnish Defence forces, in 1993 the National Defence Training Association of Finland was founded to guide and organize the voluntary defence training, the legal foundation was created in 1994. In 2001 it was decided to develop the voluntary defence training, and in 2002 a ministry -level work group was created to study the matter, the group released its report in 2004, calling for creation of what would become Territorial Forces. February 14, 2007 the Finnish parliament passed the Act of Defence forces 551/2007 which allowed the creation of the Territorial forces, president Tarja Halonen signed the law in May 11.

The Territorial Company (maakuntakomppania) of Satakunta, participating in the national parade of the Finnish Defence Forces in Pori on the Defence Forces Flag Day 2009.

Critics[edit]

During TF formation, left-wing political parties and other political groups criticized Territorial Forces for being too close to White Guard, abolished after World War II, while some civilian organizations such as the Finnish Red Cross said that Territorial Forces shouldn't take a part in operations that fall under their area of expertise, such as peace time volunteer rescue service.

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