US Air Force set to deploy aircraft to Finland

U.S. Air Force photo

Antti Häkkänen and Antony Blinken, respectively Finnish Minister of Defense and United States Secretary of State, are set to sign a bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) on December 18, 2023, that allows the US military to establish a presence in Finland.

“The DCA deals with practical issues such as the entry of troops, prepositioning of equipment, and taxation,” the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained. “The DCA specifies the locations where the cooperation and collaboration between Finland and the United States would primarily focus.”

Under the agreement, Finland will open fifteen military facilities on its territory for the prepositioning of US forces, with at least two earmarked for the US Air Force and its aircraft. US Navy warships will also be permitted to dock in Finnish ports, even in some designated for civilian use

This development comes after Finland joined the NATO alliance earlier this year, adding 1,340 kilometers of shared borders with Russia. Notably, it comes after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Finland to reconsider its defense posture and seek closer ties with the US.

The details of the deployment, including the types of aircraft that may be stationed in Finland, are yet to be finalized.

Sweden has also expressed intentions to open its doors to US forces, potentially adding seventeen new military facilities. Combined with Finland’s fifteen, this would bring the total to 32 new US bases in Northern Europe. Sweden’s NATO entry still awaits approval from Turkey, contingent on the US sale of F-16 fighters.

Moscow has expressed discontent over Finland’s NATO membership and is reportedly considering “military-technical” measures in response.

“The line of contact between NATO and the Russian Federation’s border has more than doubled,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “This constitutes a major shift for Northern Europe, which used to be one of the most stable regions in the world.”

The Finnish intelligence service has also noted an increased threat of Russian espionage and influence operations, prompting Finland to take measures, including the closure of its entire border.

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