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Minister Mikkonen and Permanent Secretary Pimiä visit the United States

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 30.1.2023 11.12
Press release
Flags of Finland and the United States.

Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen and Permanent Secretary Kirsi Pimiä will visit the United States between 29 January and 3 February. Their visit seeks to deepen bilateral relations with the United States counterparts in the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government and with key stakeholders. They also aim explore recent developments in the areas of internal and national security and migration in the United States.

“The United States is Finland’s key partner in questions related to internal security. In our changed security environment, it is important to strengthen and maintain bilateral cooperation. Current themes in security cooperation include social resilience, civil preparedness and cybersecurity. Good relations facilitate effective cooperation and the maintenance of an up-to-date situation picture, which can be used to counter threats to national security,” says Minister Mikkonen.

Themes of the visit include cybersecurity and changes in the security environment

In Washington DC, Mikkonen and Pimiä will visit both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Council (NSC), which is the main decision-making forum of the President of the United States in questions of national and international security. The NSC also coordinates matters relating to national security with the authorities.

At the DHS and the NSC, the topics of discussion include the changed security environment and its impacts, cybersecurity and the protection of critical infrastructure. In addition, Arctic cooperation and the threat of far-right-wing extremists are on the agenda at the DHS. The discussions at the NSC also involve civil preparedness, civil society protection and the resilience of societies, i.e. resilience in times of crisis.

Far-right extremism and anti-government movements are high on the agenda 

Mikkonen and Pimiä will also visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI is responsible for national security, and for analysing intelligence and disseminating it to other government agencies. The FBI investigates terrorism, cybercrime, organised crime and corruption, and it is the most important federal agency responsible for counterintelligence. The meeting agenda with the FBI includes right-wing extremism, anti-government movements and conspiracy theories as well as resilience and civic participation.

In Washington DC, the Minister and the Permanent Secretary will also visit the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which gathers classified information on counterterrorism from all authorities, concentrating on an in-depth analysis of the information and evaluations of future developments. The NCTC reports daily to the President of the United States and, among others, to the NSC. Topics to be discussed with the NCTC also include the right-wing extremism, anti-government movements and international networks. Other items on the agenda include at least the connections between organised crime and terrorism, and counter-terrorism in NATO cooperation.

Building resilience is on the agenda at FEMA

The Minister and the Permanent Secretary will also visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is responsible for the crisis response and its national coordination. For a state to receive support from FEMA, the governor must declare an emergency and make an official request for assistance.

The agenda at FEMA includes civil preparedness, civil society protection, resilience building, and the increased cooperation between countries in matters concerning chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats (CBRN). The EU’s rescEU reserve dedicated to CBRN equipment, to be located in Finland, is a significant step forward in the efforts to improve resilience. The reserve will also strengthen Finland’s capacities in terms of its future NATO membership.

Discussions at UN on rule of law and peacekeeping operations

In New York, Mikkonen and Pimiä will visit the United Nations (UN) and meet, among others, Finnish people working for the UN and experts whose work concerns developments in the rule of law and peacekeeping operations. The Minister and the Permanent Secretary plan to discuss the state of the rule of law and Finland’s participation in peacekeeping operations by UN Police. Africa, Somalia in particular, will also be on the agenda. 

Jukka Vornanen, Special Adviser to Minister Mikkonen, tel. +358 40 593 67 91, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen)
Katarine Lindstedt, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 50 342 28 25, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Permanent Secretary Pimiä)