Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency

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Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency
Puolustusvoimien tiedustelulaitos
Försvarsmaktens underrättelsetjänst
Suomen Puolustusvoimien tornileijona.svg
The tower and the lion is the symbol of the Finnish Defence Forces
Agency overview
Formed 1 May 2014; 3 years ago (1 May 2014)
Preceding agencies
  • Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment
  • Finnish Military Intelligence Centre
Jurisdiction Republic of Finland
Employees 150–200 (2014)[1]
Annual budget 15 million (2014)[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent department Intelligence Division of Defence Command
Website puolustusvoimat.fi

The Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency (Finnish: Puolustusvoimien tiedustelulaitos (PVTIEDL), Swedish: Försvarsmaktens underrättelsetjänst) is the combined signals (SIGINT), geospatial (GEOINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT) agency of the Finnish Defence Forces. Operational since 2014, its responsibility is to support the defence of Finland through information gathering and analysis as an intelligence agency subordinate to the Intelligence Division of Defence Command.

The Agency's SIGINT history can be traced back to the establishment of Finnish radio intelligence in 1927 by Reino Hallamaa, a Defence Command intelligence officer, while its GEOINT history starts from 1812 with the establishment of the Haapaniemi military surveying school and topographical service. The successes of its predecessors are considered instrumental in key battles of the Winter and Continuation War during 1939–1944, such as intelligence at the largest battle in the history of Nordic countries, the Battle of Tali-Ihantala.[2]

Function

A Fokker F27 model used by the Agency, pictured in 2011 at Joensuu Airport

The Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency is subordinate to the Intelligence Division of Defence Command and its self-stated tasks include analysing military strategies, gathering geospatial and meteorological intelligence, training Defence Forces and partner staff, such as police or border guard, as well as supporting peacekeeping operations, such as Finnish deployments to the War in Afghanistan, with information services.[3] News reports and other independent sources usually describe it as the main SIGINT, GEOINT and IMINT agency of the Finnish military.[1][4][5][6]

It was formed on 1 May 2014 by merging the Finnish Military Intelligence Centre, the Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment and counter-intelligence assets from the Intelligence Division. According to a 2014 interview with Chief of Intelligence, then Brigadier General Harri Ohra-aho, the merger enabled a more comprehensive intelligence overview and enhanced analytical cooperation. The Agency's main elements are situated in Helsinki and Jyväskylä with separate elements around Finland.[4][5][7] According to a news report, it employed 150–200 persons and its budget was 15 million euros in 2014.[1]

The preceding SIGINT and IMINT arm of the military, the Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment (Finnish: Viestikoelaitos, Swedish: Signalprovanstalten) operated principally as a part of Finnish Air Force Headquarters at Tikkakoski, near Jyväskylä.[5] The facility received its orders from Defence Command and employed 120–140 personnel according to a 2007 news report. In addition to land-based radars and listening stations, the facility gathered airborne IMINT and SIGINT. For example, the Establishment started utilizing a Fokker F27 Friendship airplane in 1991 and procured a EADS CASA C-295 in 2012 to be fitted with a Lockheed Martin Dragon Shield surveillance suite.[6][8][9][10]

Before the merger, the strategic analysis-focused Finnish Military Intelligence Centre (Finnish: Puolustusvoimien tiedustelukeskus, Swedish: Militära underrättelsecentret) had been located in Helsinki since 2007 and contained a topographical unit specialized in GEOINT as well as an intelligence school.[5][11]

Most information on the Agency or its predecessors is not public per Finnish law.[12] Regarding the Intelligence Research Establishment, virtually every document concerning closer details, such as leadership structure or intelligence processes, were confirmed as secret by a Supreme Administrative Court ruling in 2007—except for budget and employee count.[8]

History

Signals intelligence

1927–1939

A dugout listening station in Vazhiny along the Svir River during the Continuation War in 1942

Finland's history in signals intelligence (SIGINT) can be traced back to 1927 and the birth of Finnish radio intelligence. On 14 June 1927, Lieutenant Reino Hallamaa was transferred to the Statistics Office (Finnish: Tilastotoimisto) of Defence Command, a cover for the military intelligence unit, and ordered to create a radio intelligence capacity for the Finnish Defence Forces. To kickstart the process, Hallamaa studied radio intelligence theory and methods around Europe, recruited mathematicians and Russian translators, procured signal detectors and radio receivers, built listening stations and started exchanging decrypted messages with counterparts, such as Polish intelligence. For example, he visited Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Poland to examine SIGINT and cryptanalysis capabilities and equipment.[13][14][15]

By 1929, the Statistics Office was able to decrypt diplomatic cables, such as United States messaging between Washington, D.C. and its embassy in Helsinki, to the benefit of state leadership. By 1934, the Office could intercept and decrypt Soviet Navy messages after monitoring and comparing its communications and movement extensively with a Hansa-Brandenburg W.33 reconnaissance plane above the Gulf of Finland and from neighbouring islands. It also was able to ascertain most of the Soviet Union's Winter War invasion plans in advance through radio listening. On the eve of the Winter War, 29 November 1939, the Office intercepted Soviet messages to armored brigades to commence the invasion as well as the fakel (Russian for torch) invasion codes sent to the Soviet Baltic Fleet.[13][14][16][17][18]

1939–1944

As the Winter War began in 1939, Hallamaa and the SIGINT assets under his command were reorganized as the Signals Intelligence Office (Finnish: Viestitiedustelutoimisto).[15] The Signals Intelligence Office was able to intercept Soviet messages and inform Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo of the enemy's movements during the Battle of Suomussalmi. With the intelligence, Colonel Siilasvuo had the initiative and was able to pocket and destroy the Soviet 44th Rifle Division at Raate road. The division had been en route to support the already encircled 163rd Rifle Division. For example, the Finns intercepted messages guiding the encircled Soviet troops how to light up signal fires for air supply pilots to recognize during night-time. Subsequently, the Finns lighted similar fires and some of the Soviet supplies landed on Finn-held ground. Over 20,000 Soviet troops were killed and military hardware in dire need, such as 43 tanks and 71 field guns, was captured. The decisive victory by the Finnish Army against superior enemy forces is cited as one of the most significant battles of the Winter War.[13][17][19][20]

During the interim peace in 1940, Hallamaa traded cracked Soviet ciphers with other states to fund Finnish signals intelligence operations—for example to the Swedes in exchange for RCA transmitters. Hallamaa was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed the commander of Defence Command's Radio Battalion (Finnish: Radiopataljoona) in October 1941 during the early months of the Continuation War. Finnish radio intelligence had grown from 75 persons during the Winter War to approximately 1,000 soldiers. Reportedly, they were able to decrypt 80 percent of Soviet messages on the Finnish front. Collaboration and exchange of Soviet ciphers with Japan beared fruit when the Soviets switched their western front ciphers in late 1941 with the eastern ciphers used in Vladivostok—immediately decryptable due to the exchange.[13][17][18][19] In 1942, Finnish intelligence cracked telegrams of the Allied convoys PQ-17 and PQ-18 heading to Arkhangelsk, Soviet Union and supplied the information to Abwehr, German military intelligence.[21]

Finnish intelligence also made mistakes by revealing too much of its knowledge, such as in 1941 when eager personnel messaged the Red Fleet with its own ciphers to surrender. The Fleet immediately switched their ciphers and frequencies. Likewise, too much radio intelligence-based information of the Kaleva airplane, shot down by Soviets bombers during peacetime, was published—most likely allowing Soviets to learn of cracked ciphers.[13][17]

Amidst the battle of Tali-Ihantala in the summer of 1944, considered the largest battle in Nordic military history, Finnish radio intelligence intercepted Soviet messaging of divisions assembling to launch attacks. Due to the captured information, Finnish artillery as well as Finnish and German aircraft, notably the German Detachment Kuhlmey, were able to pre-emptively render Soviet units waiting in assembly zones ineffective. Subsequently the 50,000-person Finnish defence was able to halt the 150,000-person Soviet attack and the overall Vyborg-Petrozavodsk Offensive, the final large-scale operation of the Continuation War.[22] According to Nenye and others, the pre-emptive artillery strikes halted and destroyed over thirty Soviet formations larger than battalions immediately prior to the start of their attacks.[2][23]

The Finnish Air Force started its independent signals intelligence operations by establishing a radio intelligence company on 10 October 1942, later reorganized into a 500-person radio intelligence battalion in March 1944 and shut down after the Continuation War. While Hallamaa and his intelligence unit focused on land and sea-based messaging, the Air Force naturally focused on air-based intelligence.[13]

1944–present

In the autumn of 1944, after the Moscow Armistice, 700 to 800 Finnish SIGINT staff fled to Sweden with 350 crates of cryptography equipment in operation Stella Polaris, led by colonels Aladár Paasonen and Reino Hallamaa. The goal of the operation was to escape Soviet retribution and the communist takeover of the Finnish State Police as well as to try and create a contingency SIGINT service if it would be required later on against a possible Soviet Union occupation of Finland. Likewise, material concerning SIGINT of the Finnish military was destroyed or hidden in Sweden. C-byrån of the Swedish military and the National Defence Radio Establishment coordinated the operation at their end and received, for example, cracked ciphers from the Finns. Some war-time documents hidden in the operation were later reportedly found in microfilms, for example, at the CIA's central archives and NSA's National Cryptologic Museum—while some have not resurfaced. Most of the SIGINT staff were returned to Finland by Sweden after temporary internment, and some 30 of them were interrogated by the State Police although no indictments were issued. Colonels Paasonen and Hallamaa did not return to Finland during the rest of their lives.[13][17][18][19][24]

The Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment was founded in 24 October 1955 within the Finnish Air Force, first as the Intelligence Research Station (Finnish: Viestikoeasema) in central Helsinki. The Establishment expanded throughout the 1960s by building communication stations and by appointing personnel to statistical units of the Air Force and the Navy. In December 1973, its headquarters relocated to the Tikkakoski garrison near Jyväskylä. In 2014, the Radio Intelligence Establishment was merged into the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency.[4][9]

Geospatial intelligence

In 1944 at Rukajärvi, light and sound surveying data of Soviet artillery locations received by phone during a battle is converted onto a map and immediately relayed to friendly batteries

Finnish geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is considered to have started with the Haapaniemi military surveying school and topographical service established in 1812 in Rantasalmi, Grand Duchy of Finland (modern Finland).[25][26] During the 1918 Finnish Civil War, Major Claës Stenius organized and led the War Topography Division of White Finland's military and continued in the same role at Defence Command after Finnish independence.[27] The first months of the Division were hectic in assembling all the maps it could find and organizing map printing services. The unit was reorganized more than twenty times until the turn of the century with different names, such as Topography Office, Topography Section and Topography Division. Similarly, General Vilho Petter Nenonen created a parallel Surveying Battery (Finnish: Mittauspatteri) in 1924 to support the imagery, meteorological and topographical intelligence of Finnish artillery with officers being educated at the University of Helsinki on surveying theory. The responsibilities of the Topography Section (Finnish: Topografikunta) of Defence Command and the Surveying Battery overlapped during the 1920s and 1930s and the units disagreed on whether to centralize or decentralize GEOINT assets.[15][28][29]

Two separate surveying batteries and a topography company were mobilized in 1939 during the Winter War and four surveying batteries and a topography battalion during the Continuation War. They supported frontline operations of the Finnish Defence Forces mostly at the Karelian Isthmus while the topographical unit of Defence Command continued its headquarters-level GEOINT duties, first as a section and later as a division.[28] During the 2-week battle of Tali-Ihantala in June 1944, the topographical and surveying capability of the Finnish artillery allowed accurate, simultaneous and concentrated fire of 21 artillery batteries, approximately 240 guns, to support counter-attacks and render assembling Soviet spearheads ineffective with an approximate total of 110,000 to 120,000 rounds of ordnance. Roughly 70% of the approximately 22,000 Soviet casualties were caused by artillery and mortar fire.[22] The barrage was considered a world record of artillery at the time and according to Nenye and others, halted and destroyed over thirty Soviet formations larger than a battalion.[2][23][29]

After the wars and demobilization, the Surveying Battery was transferred from its original location in Hämeenlinna to Niinisalo in 1950 and bolstered in 1952 into an independent Surveying Artillery Battalion (Finnish: Mittauspatteristo) directly under Defence Command. Likewise in 1952, the Topography Division (Finnish: Topografiosasto) was organized back into its former name, the Topography Section, as an independent unit. This status quo remained until the Surveying Artillery Battalion was transferred in 1979 within the Niinisalo Artillery School and later renamed as the Intelligence Artillery Battalion (Finnish: Tiedustelupatteristo). In 2007, the Topography Section was merged into the Finnish Military Intelligence Centre and in 2014, to the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency.[4][28][29]

See also

Notes and references

Notes

  • As some of the early units mentioned do not have official English translations, Wikipedia editors have taken the liberty to translate them.
  • Due to intelligence documentation being destroyed or hidden and intelligence officers fleeing to Sweden during Operation Stella Polaris, material and research into Finnish military intelligence is scarce at points.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Hartio, Ilkka (2015-03-11). "Uutisen takana: Salamyhkäistä tiedustelua Tikkakoskelta" [Behind the news: Elusive intelligence at Tikkakoski]. Keskisuomalainen (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Koskimaa, Matti (1993). Veitsen terällä: Vetäytyminen Länsi-Kannakselta ja Talin-Ihantalan suurtaistelu kesällä 1944 [On a knife-edge: Withdrawal from the Western Isthmus and the Battle of Tali-Ihantala in the summer of 1944] (in Finnish). Porvoo, Helsinki, Juva: WSOY. ISBN 951-0-18811-5. 
  3. ^ "Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency". Finnish Defence Forces. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Puolustusvoimien tiedustelukeskus ja Viestikoelaitos yhdistyvät" [Finnish Military Intelligence Centre and Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment to be merged]. Kainuun Sanomat (in Finnish). 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Sotilastiedustelu on osa maanpuolustusta" [Military intelligence is a part of defence]. Ruotuväki. 2014-05-17. Archived from the original on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  6. ^ a b Ainola, Olli (2017-04-19). "IL-Analyysi: Miksi Suomen tiedustelu repsahti? Halonen ja Tuomioja romuttivat Venäjän sotilasliikenteen vahtimisen". Iltalehti (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  7. ^ Teivainen, Aleksi (2013-12-22). "Finland may soon have its own secret agents". Helsinki Times. Retrieved 2017-11-02. Today, both foreign and signals intelligence operations are performed by the Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment, which, established under the Defence Forces, only monitors communications outside the Finnish borders, according to its own reports. 
  8. ^ a b "KHO: Armeijan tiedustelulaitoksesta ei tarvitse antaa edes yleisluonteisia tietoja" [Supreme Administrative Court: Army intelligence agency does not have to provide even general information] (in Finnish). Yle Uutiset. 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Viestikoelaitos" [Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment]. Finnish Defence Forces (Archived at the Wayback Machine). 2006-09-28. Archived from the original on 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  10. ^ "Suomen salaisin sotakone" [Finland's most secret warplane]. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 2012-09-22. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Puolustusvoimien tiedustelukeskus siirtyy vuoden kuluttua pääkaupunkiseudulle" [The Finnish Military Intelligence Centre will relocate to the Helsinki metropolitan area in a year]. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  12. ^ "Section 24, Act on the Openness of Government Activities 621/1999". www.finlex.fi. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Erkki, Pale; Ahtokari, Reijo (1997). Suomen radiotiedustelu 1927–1944 [Finnish Radio Intelligence 1927–1944] (in Finnish). Helsinki: Viestikoelaitoksen Kilta. ISBN 952909437X. 
  14. ^ a b "Suomen radiotiedustelu oli sota-aikana maailman huipputasoa: "Saksalaiset ihmeissään"" [Finnish radio intelligence was top of the world during war time: "The Germans were bewildered"]. Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2017-11-05. 
  15. ^ a b c Arimo, R. (1987). Suomen puolustussuunnitelmat 1918-1939 [Defence Plans of Finland 1918-1939] (in Finnish). Helsinki: Finnish Defence Forces. ISBN 951-25-0375-1. 
  16. ^ Saressalo, Lassi (2011). Päämajan kaukopartiot jatkosodassa (in Finnish). WSOY. ISBN 9789510381564. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Lehtonen, Lauri; Liene, Timo; Manninen, Ohto (2016). Sanomansieppaajia ja koodinmurtajia - Suomen radiotiedustelu sodassa (in Finnish). Docendo. ISBN 9789522912879. 
  18. ^ a b c Brantberg, Robert (2014). Tiedustelueversti Reino Hallamaa - Voiton avaimet (in Finnish). Revontuli. ISBN 978-952-6665-15-3. 
  19. ^ a b c Karhunen, Joppe (1980). Reino Hallamaan salasanomasotaa (in Finnish). Espoo: Weilin + Göös. ISBN 951-35-2277-6. 
  20. ^ "Suomalaiseverstin erikoinen elämä hakee vertaistaan". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2017-11-09. 
  21. ^ Beckman, Bength (1996). Svensk kryptobredrifter [Swedish crypto achievements] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag. ISBN 91-0-056229-7. 
  22. ^ a b Rysti, Tuomo (2001). The Miracle of Ihantala: As Told by the Veterans (Documentary).  AV-Caesar.
  23. ^ a b Nenye, Vesa; Munter, Peter; Wirtanen, Toni; Birks, Chris (2016). Finland at War. The Continuation and Lapland Wars 1941-45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781472815279. For this battle, the Finns had amassed most of their army's artillery. By using the targeting device known as the Korjausmuunnin (trajectory corrector) developed by the Inspector of Artillery General Vilho Nenonen, the front-line observers were able to coordinate and concentrate the fire of multiple batteries. This was a technological feat unique to any of the fighting forces of that time. Between 29 June and 6 July, the Finnish artillery managed to repeatedly halt and destroy enemy concentrations still assembling at their jumping-off points. On 30 such occasions the forces destroyed were larger than battalion size. 
  24. ^ Jacobsen, Alf R. (2001). "Scandinavia, Sigint and the Cold War". In Aid, Matthew M.; Wiebes, Cees. Secrets of Signals Intelligence During the Cold War and Beyond. London: Frank Cass Publishers. pp. 209–242. ISBN 9780714651767. 
  25. ^ Nuorteva, Jussi (2012). "Haapaniemen kenttämittauskoulu ja topografikunta : suomalaisen upseerikoulutuksen uusi alku 1812". In Nuorteva, Jussi; Hakala, Pertti. Kotkien varjot : Suomi vuonna 1812 (in Finnish). Helsinki: The National Archives of Finland. pp. 88–92. ISBN 978-951-53-3446-6. 
  26. ^ Nordenstreng, Sigurd (1930). Haapaniemi krigsskola och topografiska kår (in Swedish). Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland. 
  27. ^ Harjula, Mirko (2013). "Ryssänupseerit": Ensimmäisen maailmansodan Venäjän asevoimien suomalaistaustaiset upseerit 1914-1956 (in Finnish). Books on Demand. p. 328. ISBN 9789522861429. 
  28. ^ a b c Paulaharju, Jyri (1997). Sotilaat kartoittavat : Suomen sotilaskartoituksen historia. Topografikunta. ISBN 952-90-89-35-X. 
  29. ^ a b c Pohjola, Pentti; Majuri, Pekka; Salonen, Kalle; Fredriksson, Heikki; Yläkorpi, Antero (2011). "Maanmittarit ja vapaaehtoinen maanpuolustus" (PDF). Maankäyttö: 54–58. 

External links

  • Finnish Defence Forces official website
  • Ministry of Defence official website


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