Finnish Military Lowers Physical Condition Threshold to Include 'PlayStation Boys'
As the proportion of men has decreased significantly over the years, from 93 percent in the early 1980s to below 70 percent today, the Finnish Armed Forces would also like more women to volunteer to plug the gap.
The Finnish Armed Forces is reviewing service classes amid a general drop in the physical condition of conscripts. The goal of this reorganisation is to accommodate less fit conscripts.
The idea is to train more crews for less physically demanding tasks, such as cyberdefence, communications, or logistics, national broadcaster Yle
As part of the reorganisation process, a significant proportion of the military's wartime troops will receive new assignments in the next few years. Among other things, regional troops will be disbanded and distributed between operational and local regiments, which are being expanded and modernised, in order to be able to maintain greater preparedness and meet new threats.
"Our current regional troops as a whole do not have the skills and mobility required on the modern battlefield. We need mobile local troops with versatile capabilities who can be used for both conventional military missions and tasks, including so-called hybrid influence", Army Commander Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko told Yle.
According to Hulkko, the military is striving to expand the service capacity of Class B to include less fit men and women, especially in tasks that don't require top physical condition from conscripts.
"It would be stupid in today's situation not to take advantage of the 'PlayStation boys' who have different kinds of cyber experience and can use social media, and so on", he added.
The Armed Forces would also like more women to volunteer, as the proportion of men has decreased significantly over the years.
"I would like to see that in every family there is at least one man or woman who has done military service, so that the tradition lives on and there is a feeling of participation in every home. When I started my military career in the early 1980s, 93 percent of men did military service and now we are below 70 percent. I hope we can compensate for this loss by bringing in more women, I don't doubt women's will to defend [our country] for a single moment", Hulkko emphasised.
In the spring of 2021, the Finland saw 1,675 female applicants, the highest ever.
The Finnish Armed Forces have an active personnel of some 8,000 staff and some 25,000 conscripts, yet boasts 900,000 reservists in a nation of 5.5 million.