U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen James Kriesel, director of U.S. European Command’s exercises and assessments directorate, hosted Brig. Gen. Manu Tuominen, the Finnish Defence Command’s assistant chief of staff for training, and a Finnish military delegation during a visit to the command’s Stuttgart, Germany, headquarters Jan. 18, 2024.
As part of the visit, Brig. Gen. Tuominen, was joined by USEUCOM’s Finnish foreign liaison officer, Lt. Col. Timo Ronkainen and Finnish staff officer Maj. Ilkka-Maki-Ulakko. During the exchange, the U.S. and Finnish military leaders aimed to bolster the two nations’ strategic relationship as NATO Allies. Focused discussion revolved around both USEUCOM’s exercise programs and Finland’s exercise programs and how Finland, NATO’s newest member, might better integrate within U.S.- and NATO-led exercises. Key talking points also involved how the U.S. and Finland can increase interoperability between the two nations as they continue to develop their shared interests in the High North.
The U.S. and Finland signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in December 2023 to enhance opportunities for the two militaries to collaborate and train together while bolstering NATO’s interoperability.
On April 4, 2023, Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO, marking a major shift in the security landscape in northeastern Europe and on NATO’s eastern flank by nearly doubling NATO’s existing border with Russia.
Military leaders with both nations actively participate in the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable, a flag-and-general-officer level, military-to-military forum designed to promote regional understanding and enhance multilateral security cooperation in the High North. ASFR is the longest-running military forum focused on the Arctic’s uniquely challenging security dynamics.