Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the promotion and appointment of cadets on 27 August 2021

Esteemed Cadets,

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

During your studies, our society has encountered new threats. They have tested the everyday safety of our citizens. Finland has been under emergency conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic twice already, and the events in Afghanistan have shown how sudden the changes in security policy can be. The uncertainty in other neighbouring areas of Europe, the Middle East and Africa also have an impact on the European security. At the same time, large-scale influencing and interference practised by states and other operators has increased. As you are now graduating to your duties in the Finnish Defence Forces and Border Guard, your contribution to security is needed even more than before.

Cadet training has provided you with the readiness to encounter potential crisis situations, even those emerging surprisingly. Next, you will have an opportunity to show your skills and competence in practical training and readiness duties. When acting as instructors and leaders to your troops, you have a great responsibility for fulfilling your missions and for the competence and well-being of your subordinates. Act responsibly and grow with your work.

By training conscripts, you directly influence the readiness and capability of your troops. The lessons and experiences you give to conscripts carry far.  Your behaviour as leaders serves as an example that still guides the actions of your subordinates in the labour market after their military service.

The Finnish defence capability requires the provision of sufficiently broad and high-quality reserve training. In addition, the changes in our operating environment require that your troops are in high readiness to react to sudden turns of events, if necessary. In your duties, you take care of your troop’s readiness for military national defence tasks.

International military co-operation is part of the duties of officers. As an indication of this, some of you already have experience of international exercises and military crisis management. Develop yourselves also in this area – language skills and the ability to collaborate with international partners will surely bring rewards in the future.

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

I thank you for a job well done. The demanding, high-quality education provided by the Military Academy gives the graduating young officers a solid foundation to serve in the duties of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Border Guard. In addition to competence, you, young officers, have thus gained readiness to develop yourselves over your career with its many phases.

Young Officers!

I congratulate you and your families on this prestigious day of celebration. I wish you the best of success in your future duties.