NATO's newest member nation Finland hosted the annual Arctic Security Forces Roundtable (ASFR) April 25-27 in Turku, bringing together more than 50 senior military leaders from 11 NATO Ally and partner nations to discuss issues paramount to security in the High North.
"Finland is a northern country. The Arctic region is, of course, important to us, and we share the same challenges and concerns with our Allies and partners," said Finnish Defence Forces deputy chief of staff for strategy, Army Maj. Gen. Janne Jaakkola, who hosted this year's strategic gathering and delivered the event's keynote remarks.
"This year the discussions have concentrated on the current strategic situation and implications for the future," he added. "This roundtable is one of the fora where we can discuss how to strengthen the security and stability of the Arctic region."
Featuring presentations and briefings by several of the region's leading experts in Arctic policy and security, topics ranged from understanding Russia's and China's perspectives and interests in the Arctic to how to improve interoperability and integrated deterrence of NATO Allies and partners in the strategically critical region.
"As the Arctic becomes increasingly accessible, the need for cooperation and collaboration on Arctic security among nations is more important now than ever," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Daniel Lasica, U.S. European Command's (USEUCOM) director of plans, strategy and capabilities and ASFR co-chair. "The security of the region has global implications and the impacts of climate change and geopolitical tensions in the Arctic will have far-reaching consequences."
Established in 2010 by Norway and the U.S., the ASFR promotes Arctic cooperation among military forces that operate in and around the region, while also supporting nations that promote peaceful development of the Arctic region and adhere to rules-based international order.
"As we gather here in Finland's oldest city, it is important to acknowledge Finland's vital and longstanding role in Arctic security. As NATO's newest member, Finland strengthens our collective defense and enhances our ability to address regional security challenges, particularly in the Arctic," said Norwegian Rear Adm. Solveig Krey, Norwegian Defence Staff's chief of operations and ASFR co-chair. "We continue to welcome Finland's contributions to this important forum and look forward to continuing our partnership in support of a stable and secure Europe."
Co-chaired by the Norwegian Defence Staff and USEUCOM, ASFR is currently the only military forum focused on the Arctic region's unique and challenging security dynamics, along with the military capabilities and cooperation required to maintain a stable, secure region. A flag-and-general-officer level, military-to-military forum, ASFR is designed to promote regional understanding and enhance multilateral security cooperation in the High North.
U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, visit www.eucom.mil.