The DCA agreement, which is currently under negotiation, defines cooperation practices and thus speeds up the arrival of military assistance in the event of a crisis.
Prior to NATO membership, Finland had a complex network of bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements to support its national defence. This Himmel had to ensure that Finland would not be left without help in case of crisis.
Finland is now a full member of NATO and under Article 5 security guarantees, but the era of weaving the safety net is not over. Finland is currently negotiating a Bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreement, or DCA, with the United States.
The Ministry of External Affairs, which is negotiating, has not made public the draft DCA agreement. However, conclusions can be drawn about its content based on the DCA agreements the US has with other countries. America keeps them more or less the same.
– The goal of the agreement is to enable uninterrupted cooperation between Finland and the United States and to strengthen deterrence and resistance in Finnish territory, explains Eero Sarka, a researcher at the Institute for Foreign Policy, about the IS agreement.
The agreement complements Finland’s NATO membership and substantially strengthens national security. This enables agile operations in the event of a potential crisis.
The agreement complements Finland’s NATO membership and substantially strengthens national security.
Recently, US troops trained in Finland in the Arrow 23 exercise organized by the Finnish military. The defense forces, inter alia, said the following on Twitter during the exercise:
The DCA agreement brings Finland even closer to the United States. However, the content of the agreement itself is very practical.
– The DCA agreement can be seen on the one hand as a strengthening of bilateral relations between the United States and Finland, on the other hand as a necessary practical arrangement, commented Hanna Ozgenen, IS research director from the University of Tampere.
According to Ojennen, the DCA agreements signed by the United States with various countries go deep into practical matters—for example, whether US servicemen’s driver’s licenses are valid in the agreement partner’s territory.
The most important content of the agreements are the conditions under which, for example, weapons can be placed in the country.
– In Poland’s DCA agreement, it states that US law is followed when storing US weapons in Poland, Ojenen says.
So it’s kind of about operating practice and routine.
The situation is new and interesting for Finland, says Ojanen:
– If the defense thinking in Finland has already changed radically when the country allied itself militarily, we now see the possibility of stationing United States troops, perhaps weapons or other stockpiles, on the country’s territory are discussing. or shall we discuss? Should we take it for granted and see that closer ties with the United States strengthen security, the research director asks.
Slovakia signed the DCA agreement with the United States early last year. The project did not go without fierce debate: both far-right and far-right politicians believed it would limit Slovakia’s sovereignty.
The more than 70-page agreement contains 30 articles, covering, among other things, the entry and exit of US troops from Slovakia, logistical support, movement of aircraft, ships and vehicles, route of mail, contract agreements, status of US troops in Slovakia And civilian personnel, and so on – almost everything on earth and in the sky. between. And yes: the agreement explicitly states that driver’s licenses issued in the United States are valid in Slovakia!
The agreement obliges US armed forces to operate in Slovakia in such a way that the forces “fully respect the country’s sovereignty, its constitution, and national and international law.” It prohibits the United States from maintaining nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons on Slovakian soil. Under the agreement, the United States gets the right to use the Malki-Kuchina and Slyk air bases, which will be modernized with US support.
According to Ojenen, the reason for the lack of bilateral agreements in the research literature is that states do not consider military alliances to be sufficient, but also enter into agreements in addition to them, perhaps to an increasing extent.
NATO, which operates on the principle of consensus, is a slow-moving organization, and it can take time to decide whether to send aid to a member state in crisis.
– Compared to multilateral organizations and unions, bilateral agreements can be quicker to negotiate, appear clearer, and probably result in fewer agreements because there are fewer parties. We often want to be in close contact with a greater power. On the other hand, such agreements could fragment the field of cooperation if different directions have different standards and practices, Ojenen speculates.
According to Ojenen, the DCA agreement between Finland and the United States is not symmetrical—the question is specifically about support given to Finland by the United States and US military activities in Finland, not Finland’s actions on US territory. about activities.
– The background is security and mutual cooperation of both sides, but such agreements are not agreements on joint defense, for example. Of course, they can be viewed in such a way that the (US) presence accelerates or facilitates the delivery of aid when it is needed, Ozenen reflects.
On the other hand, such agreements may fragment the cooperation area if different directions have different standards and practices.
Defense cooperation will be concentrated in some training and military areas in Finland. Which of them would be of interest to the United States? Researchers cannot answer it yet.
– It completely depends on what troops and abilities will be used in cooperation. The goal is of course that there should be no barriers to the operations of the different defense branches and practical cooperation between them, comments Iro Särkkä.
Finland is a geographically large country with scope for conducting large joint exercises of the defense branches. Such exercises require large firing ranges and lots of free space for aerial operations.
Lapland is one of the areas of cooperation that is the subject of speculation. Among other things, Rovaniemi houses the Lapland Air Force combat base and the largest military training area in Western Europe, Lake Rovjärvi, with an area of no less than 1,070 square kilometers.
Read more: Unprecedented announcement: Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are making military history – what it’s all about
There is no information yet on possible US defense investments in Finland.
– It is impossible to estimate in advance when you do not know where and what activities will take place, comments Sarka.
Finland has ordered 64 new F-35A multirole fighter jets from the United States, the first of which will arrive in Lapland’s air force in 2026. According to speculations, the investments made to Finland through the DCA agreement could be related to the new fighter fleet. and cooperation of the air forces of NATO countries. Over the next decade, the Nordic NATO countries will have strong air forces that can operate together.
– It’s too early to speculate, but theoretically it could be, for example, a maintenance hangar for F-35 fighters, Mikael Entel, deputy head of the political department of the Foreign Ministry, who heads the Finnish negotiating delegation , recently told Helsingin Sanomat.
The Norwegian Defense Ministry said in March that it had signed an additional document to its own DCA agreement, which came into force last year. Based on this, the United States will make a defense investment of about two billion kronor (172 million euros) at the Rygge airbase near Oslo. These include, inter alia, four fighter shelters, storage buildings, additional space for ammunition and improvements to the base’s defences. When the buildings are completed, they will be the property of the Norwegian government, but the United States will have the right to use them.
The United States hardly wants to have permanent troops or bases on the territory of Finland. The presence of American troops in Finland is another matter.
– I do not think that the United States will station troops in Finland on a permanent basis, but a solid framework should be created with the agreement for a regular rotation of troops, that is, the movement of troops and training, Sarkaka comments.
Even this US military presence in Finland would be a significant change from the previous situation and would enhance Finland’s national security.
Last fall, Finland and the United States began negotiations on a bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA, Defense Cooperation Agreement). Talks will end in the fall or next year.
The DCA is an international agreement binding on Finland. After the negotiations are over, the agreement will be brought to Parliament for consideration and approval as per Chapter 8 of the Constitution.
The agreement defines the position of US forces when operating in the territory of Finland. It deals with practical issues relating to criminal jurisdiction, taxation, customs and recognition of qualifications, among other things. Nuclear weapons are not included in the treaty.
The United States and 23 NATO member states have valid DCA agreements. These include Norway, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries. Currently, the United States is also negotiating DCA agreements with Sweden and Denmark.