Cadet and Officer Corps Association
1. Foundation of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association which was established 27 January 1921 is a voluntary organization and an association promoting patriotism and cohesion among the commissioned officers who have graduated from the military academies of the independent Finland (Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy) and of cadets who study at the National Defence University. By the end of 2019 almost 15 000 officers have graduated from the cadet courses.
The first cadet course at the Finnish Military Academy commenced in Arkadia (a district) in Helsinki on 25 January 1919 and ended on 31 March 1920. Officers at the anniversary banquet of the Military Academy founded the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association on 27 January 1921.
When the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association was founded the conditions in Finland differed quite a lot from the present day. Finland had just got independence and she was establishing her position and policy as an independent state. General arrangements for the Defence Forces and for officer training had only been initiated and they were still taking shape. At that time the educational background of the Finnish officer corps was heterogeneous. There were four main categories of officers:
- officers who were trained during the Russian authority,
- officers who had attended various types of short courses in the initial phase of Finland’s independence,
- jaegers who had been trained in Germany, and
- the newest and youngest group of officers who had graduated from the Finnish Defence Academy.
Influence of the newest and youngest officer group in Finland, officers graduated from the Finnish Military Academy, was modest. Among them a desire was felt to maintain that sense of solidarity and comradeship which had been created during the cadet course. So the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association became, above all, a strong fraternal association whose purpose was to maintain contacts between the members and develop solidarity, comradeship and patriotic officer spirit among themselves and also among the other officer categories.
In 1920’s and 1930’s the activities of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association were strongly focusing on the members. Partly the reason was the young and same age of the commissioned officers and their small number.
On the other hand the purpose of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association was to consolidate the status of the commissioned officers among the other officer groups within the Defence Forces. From the very beginning the purpose of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association was to create a uniform officers cadre in the Finnish Defence Forces.
2. Members, magazine and web pages of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
In the beginning of 2020 the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association had over 5400 members. It means that about 75 per cent of the living commissioned officers belong to the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association. Cadets studying at the National Defence University are also members of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association. So members of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association are from cadet to general. About 3000 members are in active service or studying at the National Defence University and about 2400 are retired officers.
Kylkirauta is the review of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association. This magazine has been published since 1935. It is published four times a year. It supports national defence focusing on leadership and officer ethics as well as on military history and military traditions. The magazine also publishes articles on topical issues of national security policy and defence. Circulation of the magazine is about 6500 copies and besides members it is mailed e.g. to all governmental decision-makers, members of the Parliament and major libraries.
All the published reviews are filed in www.kylkirauta.fi (Kylkiraudan vuosikerrat).
3. Activities of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
Activities of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association cover two main areas: 1) activities among the members, and 2) distribution of information on national defence to the society in general.
The general aim of activities is as follows:
- maintaining and promoting affinity among commissioned officers,
- supporting and upholding commissioned officers’ professional skills,
- improving knowledge of security policy among citizens and especially among schoolchildren and women.
The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association has produced seven commissioned officer registers. The newest, Commissioned Officers 1920 – 2010, was published in December 2010. It contains mini curricula vitae of about 9000 officers graduated from the Military Academy.
Since 1970’s the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association has taken part in the dialogue on security policy in Finland. This has also included giving lectures on security policy at schools and producing teaching material for schoolchildren and teachers. 1975 – 2019 over one million schoolchildren and over 65 000 teachers have participated on teaching events given by commissioned officers. In addition one and a half million other citizens have attended events on national defence arranged by commissioned officers.
The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association acts by arranging e.g. seminars on moral values, leadership and security policy and by producing publications on these events together with the Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation and the National Defence University. The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association has produced several multimedia teaching packages open for schoolchildren and citizens.
These products have been made together with the Finnish National Board of Education and the Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies in Finland. These multimedia teaching materials are available on the following websites:
4. Membership in the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
Members of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association have to be Finnish nationals and graduated from the military academy or cadets studying at the National Defence University and be Finnish citizens. The board of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association accepts a cadet or an officer to membership based on application. A member who does not follow the general aims of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association may also be dismissed.
Membership in the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association has to be considered as a privilege to belong to a brotherhood sharing common ideals with the force commander and thousands of other junior and senior commissioned officers.
Unified basic training at the Military Academy of the National Defence University creates a mutual feeling of togetherness among the commissioned officers. This feeling of togetherness among cadets becomes even stronger when they have studies in small groups at service and branch academies. The final aim of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association is, indeed, to establish lifelong cadet brotherhood among commissioned officers irrespective of seniority.
5. Collaborators of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
The main collaborators of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association are the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Boarder Guard. The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association participates in the activities of the cooperation body of the officer organizations. The other members are the Finnish Officers’ Union, the Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation, and the Jaeger Foundation.
As a member organization the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association supports the activities of the Tammenlehvä Perinneliitto (association who cherishes the traditions of the wars Finland waged in 1939 – 1945 and their war veterans) and the National Defence Training Association of Finland. The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association cooperates with the Finnish National Board of Education, the Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies in Finland, and local school authorities.
Motto of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association is ”Constantem decorat honor” – honor is the reward of the steadfast according to the founder of the Finnish officer education, Colonel Yrjö Maunu Sprengtporten, commander of the Savo Brigade. Based on his proposal King Gustav III on 23 July 1779 gave an order to found a military academy in Finland and specified that it has to be temporarily located in Kuopio. The academy was transferred to Haapaniemi 1 May 1781 when the buildings planned by Sprengtporten were completed.
Cadet education had already commenced before Sprengtporten’s military academy at Finland’s Artillery School according to the order given by King Frederik on 18 August 1747. During the period of Finland’s autonomy officer training took place at the Imperial Finnish Military Academy in Hamina. In the independent Finland the Military Academy has been in Arkadia, Munkkiniemi and Santahamina in Helsinki. Today the Military Academy is part of the National Defence University. In addition officer education takes place at the service and branch schools in various parts of Finland.
7. Leadership and organization of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
The activities of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association are led by the executive board. It has 10 members. The board is supported by the office the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
Members of the executive board represent various services, the Finnish Border Guard, cadets studying at the National Defence University and regional cadet and officer corps clubs. Finland has been divided along municipal boundaries into 22 cadet and officer corps clubs. These clubs are responsible for the activities at the regional level. During the undergraduate studies cadets belong to the Cadet Union.
8. Main sources of revenues
The membership fee is allocated to the regional cadet and officer clubs. Smaller clubs receive bigger support. The major projects of the Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association and e.g. the defence policy multimedia projects are mainly funded by awards.
9. Contact information
The Finnish Cadet and Officer Corps Association
Eino Leinon katu 12 E 64
Office e-mail: kadettikunta(at)kadettikunta.fi
Secretary-General, Colonel (retd) Juha Tammikivi
Phone +358 (0)50 470 7308,
Office manager, Mrs Sabina Krogars
Phone +358 (0)5 470 7291,
Updated June 2020