James Mashiri

UUDPRLibera’s guest of the week James Mashiri (born 1976) serves with the Materials Department of the Navy as an officer. He writes the popular security policy blog Random thoughts and takes part actively in security policy discussions on social media (@jamesmashiri). Earlier on, James has served with the Pori Brigade and the Uusimaa Brigade.

What is Finland’s greatest challenge?

“From the point of view of security, our geographical location is our greatest challenge. Access to the Arctic region, its resources and passages will be a significant medium-term and long-term challenge for Russia and other countries. Russia is preparing to ensure its vital resource and information streams by means of military force. Finland’s challenge is to respond to this. Building up a sufficient defence capability against Russia’s conventional military forces will already be impossible withing ten years at the current rate of development. Threat visualisations have to be managed with the other instruments of the security symphony orchestra without repeating the conflict notes of the Cold War.”

What is Finland’s greatest opportunity?

“Our greatest opportunity continues to be bridge-building and our position between east and west. Militarily, our greatest opportunity is to be a specialist, even in a large group. There is something unique about the Finnish soldier. Out society produces a high level of expertise for crisis management.”

Which single thing would you change at once?​

“I would open a discussion about our defence solution and defence system in the medium term. Nowadays, it’s too easy to hide behind red stamps. The best example of this is the recently revised general part of our field guidelines.”

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