The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

The Finnish Defence System's Core Competence Areas and the Challenges of Possible NATO Membership

Rainer Peltoniemi

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 27th of January, 2007, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-8600-3)   [992 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-25-1717-6)

Note: The language of the dissertation is Finnish.


The study deals with the Finnish Defence Forces as an example of ushering in the thinking of a learning organization and related core competences into the practical framework of a large organization. The objective of the study is to clarify the core competence areas of the Finnish Defence System and in what way they might possibly change if Finland were to become a member of the military alliance NATO. The study has been carried out using a constructive research approach and applying soft systems methodology and the Delfoi method.

The system of a learning organization (a theoretical model of an integrated learning organization) comprises development measures, the main process of learning and its results. A learning organization is built up with the help of these development measures. The key process of a learning organization is learning that helps to renew and consolidate the core competence of an organization. An organization's dynamics and its ability to create its own future constitute the most essential surplus value in developing a learning organization. The most significant sub-system of a learning organization is the system for management of knowledge and competence. It acts as a practical model of thinking and action aiding in efforts to achieve the ideal state of a learning organization by defining, developing and managing further the organization's core competence and on the basis of this, the organization's competence areas and the related individual competences. As a result of the development of the learning organization of the Defence Forces in the years 2001 to 2005, a common learning organization language and knowledge and competence management system were created within the Defence Forces. The core competence areas of the Finnish Defence System were defined as the most important result of this development work and research.

The Defence System's core competence areas render a comprehensive description of those focal areas of competence which form the Finnish Defence System's total performance and which facilitate the implementation of the principal mission and core operations of the Defence Forces by capitalising on the intangible, economic and physical factors of the Defence Forces. According to the study, the Finnish Defence System's core competence areas are divided into strategic core competence areas and other core competence areas. Strategic core competence areas constitute forming and maintaining a strategic situation picture, surveillance and securing of territorial integrity, protecting the vital functions and installations of society, deterring military threats and participating in international crisis management. Other core competence areas include advance warning, territorial surveillance, command capacity, international crisis management, capacity to protect society's functional prerequisites, capacity to receive resources, capacity for preventing, air defence, maritime defence, capacity to deter attacks on land, force production capacity and capacity to maintain activities.

In the study, evaluation of the impact of NATO membership charts out possible future prospects. According to the study, the challenges brought to the Finnish Defence System's core competence areas by possible NATO membership are that both new core competence areas shall be developed within the defence system and, on the other hand, that pressures for change are focused on the significance of current core competence areas. These new core competence areas would be the capacity for joint operations, capacity for interoperability among services, capacity for rapid and immediate action and capacity to release resources. Such a change would take place in the weight of the current core competence areas that the importance of international crisis management would increase and correspondingly, the importance of deterring military threats and preventing attacks on the ground would decrease. As an individual core competence area, the capacity for receiving resources would increase the most in significance.

New knowledge generated by research can be applied e.g. when assessing the future focal areas of the Finnish Defence Forces and when evaluating the total impact of possible Finnish NATO membership. Evaluating the impact of the change in core competence areas with regard to the development of the Finnish Defence System and, at the same time, also the development of a territorial defence doctrine emerged as the key challenge for future research.

Keywords: learning organization, knowledge and competence management, core competence areas, system

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© 2007 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26