Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the promotion and appointment of cadets on 26 August 2022

Kuva: Juhani Kandell/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

Esteemed Cadets,

I congratulate you on the completion of your Bachelor of Military Sciences degree. I hereby promote all cadets holding the rank of second lieutenant and ensign to the rank of lieutenant and appoint you to the position of an officer or a fixed-term position of a junior officer.

Today is a special day in your career. You have completed your studies and now you will take up your first duties in the Finnish Defence Forces and the Border Guard. You begin your officer career at a time when the world is in an unstable state. And there is no sign of change in direction. Geopolitical tensions are growing in different parts of the world and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought war to Europe. It is recommended that you are also professionally prepared for possible unexpected situational developments.

During your studies, Finland has strengthened its military ties with Western partners. The ability of the Finnish soldier has been recognised. Positive reviews of the professionalism of our soldiers has reached us from international exercises.

Our will to defend our country is now greater than in decades. We have not closed our eyes to possible threats and have secured the level of our national defence resources. Our readiness is in order. And so it must be, because we Finns bear the main responsibility for organising our defence, even if we receive support from allies.

Finland’s coming NATO membership will be reflected in the duties of graduating officers during your career. Officers’ range of duties will diversify, and there will certainly be a demand for Finnish military expertise in the coming years also within NATO structures. Your high-quality education has prepared you for international assignments during your career.

Remember the power of your example in the training of military service personnel. This is both an everyday resource and an obligation on all of you. Finns trust in their Defence Forces and in the fact that officers and other regular personnel are worthy of this trust. This trust has been earned through decades of committed work. In the future, the Defence Forces will be requested to show the strength imparted by high morale and example. You, as officers, have a very special responsibility in this regard.

Esteemed Rector of the Finnish National Defence University, lecturers and staff,

I thank you for a job well done. You have provided young officers with a sound foundation to serve in this demanding profession. Thanks to a first-class education and training, the skills and capabilities of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Border Guard will remain at a high level also in the coming decades.

Young Officers,

I congratulate you and your families on this memorable day of celebration and wish you every success in your future duties.