DOD Official Touts Sweden, Finland Becoming a member of NATO

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A Department of Defense official strongly urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to rapidly approve the request of Finland and Sweden to affix NATO. 

“The Department of Defense assesses that Finland and Sweden are ready for NATO membership,” Celeste A. Wallander, assistant secretary of protection for worldwide safety affairs, mentioned at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee listening to at present. 

Finland and Sweden would offer further safety and stability in Europe, Wallander mentioned. The two Baltic nations have already got shut bilateral protection relationships with the United States, she mentioned. The two nations even have shut working relationships and army interoperability with NATO militaries. 

The proven fact that Sweden and Finland petitioned to affix the defensive alliance is an indication of how a lot the safety atmosphere has modified with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Both nations have been companions with NATO for many years, however actually noticed no want to affix the treaty group.  

But Putin’s invasion of Ukraine precipitated a seismic shift in public opinion in each international locations, and the legislatures of each international locations rapidly debated and ratified a movement to affix the 30-nation alliance. 

Both Finland and Sweden are able to contribute to alliance protection now, Wallander mentioned. Finland maintains common conscription and has a well-manned and skilled reserve that may be known as up rapidly, which is crucial since Finland shares a protracted border with Russia. 

“Finland’s location on the Baltic Sea, diplomatic experience with Russia and advanced capabilities make it an asset to the alliance,” she mentioned. “Finland spends more than 2 percent of its [gross domestic product] on defense, and possesses unique military capabilities and expertise, particularly operating in the arctic environment.” 

Sweden’s accession into NATO would deliver “a first rate and rapidly growing military with a principled foreign policy that ardently defends democracy and human rights,” Wallander mentioned.  

Sweden additionally maintains a world class protection business. Sweden’s “military expertise in the Arctic and undersea environments would substantially advance alliance capabilities,” she mentioned.  

Sweden already has interoperability with NATO forces. The kingdom turned a NATO Partnership for Peace member in 1994, and a NATO enhanced alternatives accomplice in 2014.  

“Sweden has contributed to or supported NATO missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kosovo and Libya,” she mentioned.  

Finally, Wallander mentioned each nations “are thriving democracies that share our values and fit the ideals of the North Atlantic Treaty.” 


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Jim Garamone

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