Finland fifth in NATO in terms of military spending

Estonian and Finnish troops taking part in joint exercises in 2022.
Estonian and Finnish troops taking part in joint exercises in 2022. Source: EDF/

Finland's defense spending to GDP was fifth in NATO last year. While Finland's peacetime force is the same size as Czechia's, its wartime military personnel gives France a run for its money.

As the newest member of NATO, Finland is among the top military spenders in the alliance, Yle reports. In 2022, USA (3.47 percent of GDP), Poland (2.43 percent), Estonia (2.34 percent) and the U.K. (2.12 percent) spent more on defense per capita than Finland.

Finland's defense spending came to 1.96 percent of GDP last year. NATO members have agreed that everyone should spend at least 2 percent of GDP on national defense. Norway's defense spending was just 1.55 percent.

In absolute figures, the U.S. spends more than double what everyone else does combined on national defense. Yle warns that what America spends on its armed forces and the number of soldiers it has might be misleading as the U.S. has defense obligations elsewhere in the world.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) finds Finland to be better prepared in military terms than many other countries even though it is difficult to compare military capabilities due to countries' different needs, the Finnish public broadcaster points out. For example, Czechia, which has not maritime border, does not need submarines, while the U.K. needs fewer tanks courtesy of its island location.

Comparing how many troops countries have is not cut and dry either. For instance, there are over 700,000 civilians working for the military in the United States who are not counted among NATO personnel. In the case of Estonia, civilian helpers are reflected in NATO statistics. For Finland, Yle counted paid active service personnel and conscripts. That said, Finland's wartime military personnel would number 280,000.

USA has the most soldiers out of all NATO members, with the Army, Navy, Air Force, special units and the Marines totaling 1.3 million troops. Finland's peacetime force has some 30,000 soldiers, which is on par with Czechia. Looking at other European countries, France has over 200,000 armed forces members, while Turkey has close to half a million. The U.K. defense force has around 156,000 personnel.

Finland also has 240 tanks, while Norway has 36, Poland 137 and Spain 327 according to the IISS.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

Source: Yle

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