NATO membership and Finland’s resilience

Finland joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2023. NATO membership will strengthen Finland’s security as well as the security and stability of the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe. As a member of NATO, Finland is committed to the North Atlantic Treaty and participates in all aspects of NATO’s activities and decision-making along with the other members.

In addition to military defence and national security, NATO promotes civil preparedness and the resilience and crisis preparedness of Allied societies. The role of the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government is linked to strengthening NATO’s collective defence, specifically when it comes to maintaining internal security and civil preparedness and ensuring the resilience of society.

Resilience plays an increasingly important role in NATO

Resilience means ensuring the reliability of society even during incidents, including response to different kinds of hybrid threats and cyber threats. Resilience plays an increasingly important role in NATO. Although resilience is primarily a national responsibility, NATO members also work together to improve resilience.

NATO defines resilience as society’s capacity to resist and recover from shocks and disruptions, such as natural disasters, failures of critical infrastructure, or hybrid or armed attacks. NATO identifies resilience as critical to NATO’s core tasks and vital to NATO’s efforts to safeguard its members and shared values. 

To ensure military capabilities in times of crisis, civilian society and the functions of its critical infrastructure must also be in order. Such functions include logistics services, communications connections, civil defence, energy supply and clean water. 

The resilience of NATO members is the foundation for credible deterrence and defence. A resilient society can maintain its critical functions even in times of crisis. This improves the resilience of NATO as a whole. 

For example, key public authorities responding to hybrid threats include authorities in the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government, such as the police, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, the Finnish Border Guard, rescue services, and the Finnish Immigration Service. In NATO cooperation, the Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for civil defence matters.

NATO invests in identifying emerging threats

Finland is actively involved in the NATO intelligence enterprise. NATO decision-making relies on both military intelligence and civilian intelligence. It is built on information from the intelligence system shared by NATO and its member countries. NATO also invests in identifying emerging threats. 

Long-term cooperation for civil preparedness and resilience

Finland has taken an active part in civil preparedness and resilience cooperation since Finland became a NATO partner for peace in 1994.

The national security and civil preparedness issues within the mandate of the Ministry of the Interior are part of NATO’s new policy on resilience defined in the NATO 2030 agenda. This work is guided by NATO’s Resilience Committee. The Ministry of the Interior and other Finnish ministries contribute to preparing the committee’s work.