US Moving Closer To Placing Military Bases In Finland

The United States and Finland are reportedly discussing establishing U.S. military bases in the Nordic nation following Finland’s recent accession to NATO. Finnish Foreign Ministry official Mikael Antell confirmed that both countries are negotiating a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) that could lead to significant military infrastructure being built on Finnish soil.

This potential agreement is a strategic move to enhance defense capabilities in the region, as Finland shares an over 800-mile border with Russia. The discussions of the DCA come amid the backdrop of Moscow’s plans to boost its military presence near the border in western Russia and in response to the expansion of NATO infrastructure in Finland.

While the DCA would reportedly not involve nuclear weapons, Finnish officials have not ruled out the possibility of hosting them in the future. Antell stated that the agreement would “enable troops to enter the country, stay on the ground, the pre-storage of material, and possible infrastructure investments through the funds granted by the U.S. Congress to the Pentagon.”

The U.S. and Finland have been in talks since last fall, with discussions in Helsinki recently. The agreement would define facilities and areas where cooperation would be focused, primarily military areas and garrisons. Although more than one location is possible, discussions on the specifics are still ongoing.

The potential military infrastructure on Finnish soil may include a “maintenance hall for F-35 fighters,” as Finland finalized a $9.4 billion deal last year to acquire 64 F-35 aircraft to replace its current fleet of F-18 Hornet multirole fighters.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö supported bilateral security deals, stating that “the United States is a significant factor” in Finnish security. Experts like Matti Pesu, a senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, believe that the evolving relationship with the U.S. is crucial for deterrence against Russian aggression.

Pesu cited the 2021 supplementary DCA between Norway and the U.S., which granted U.S. troops and aircraft access to three airports and one naval station, as a possible reference for the US-Finland agreement. However, he emphasized that a major permanent U.S. military presence in Finland is unlikely.

Instead, Finland is likely to focus on regularly hosting U.S. troops and Air Force capabilities and facilitating more joint exercises and deeper cooperation between the two nations.

Pre-positioning US military hardware or stockpiles in Finland may also be considered to strengthen defense capabilities in the region.

This move to establish military bases in Finland reflects a broader U.S. strategy to deepen security partnerships with other countries in the region, including Sweden and Denmark. State Department spokesperson Ned Price noted that such agreements would “deepen our close security partnership, enhance our cooperation in multilateral security operations, and strengthen transatlantic security.”