Briefing Paper

Briefing Paper 112 (2012)   

Not just another arms deal:
The security policy implications of the United States selling advanced missiles to Finland

Published 13.9.2012

Charly Salonius-Pasternak
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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Finland's missile deal with the US has significant political implications

Finland's decision to acquire advanced semi-stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) from the United States is much more than an arms deal – it has significant political and regional military implications.

Finland is only the second country to be approved for JASSM. No NATO country has ever received such approval. This suggests something about the closeness of the relationship between the United States and Finland, as well as something about how the United States sees European and regional defence arrangements.

In the web of multilateral, multinational and bilateral relationships that Finland is weaving to enhance its security, the US relationship is a key cable.

The JASSM acquisition significantly changes Finland's ability to disrupt enemy activities, both within Finland and beyond its borders. Despite being a conventional weapon, it will serve as a deterrent.

Finnish decision-makers have a responsibility to understand both the implications of the new capabilities, and to ensure that the continued development of the Finnish Defence Forces is not inhibited due to misunderstandings of what a modern defence requires and consists of.


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