University of Oulu

Navigating CIMIC : lessons from military-local government cooperation

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Author: Juntti, Samuli1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Pages: 67
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : S. Juntti, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-06-13
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Myllykoski, Jenni
Reviewer: Myllykoski, Jenni
Sipola, Sakari


Military organizations have been involved with crisis management processes in numerous occasions ranging from war to natural disasters and humanitarian aid. Recent crises, like COVID-19 pandemic have increased the military involvement in crisis management. COVID-19 pandemic brough Finnish Border Guard operations at the normally open Schengen border at Tornio, between Finland and Sweden. The cooperation between the local government and the Finnish Border Guard can be considered as a successful Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) as both organizations representatives interviewed for this study reported being satisfied with the outcome. Similarly, the Russo-Ukrainian War has challenged the Ukrainian society on a major scale since the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion in 2022. As the war has escalated into a total war involving the entire Ukrainian society, the CIMIC environment is exceptionally demanding.

This study focuses on identifying the key elements of successful cooperation between military organizations and local government and attempts to construct a model based on these elements. This study also showcases the difficulties experienced with CIMIC operations in Ukraine, between a Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) and local government of the city of Vyšhorod. The study utilizes semi-structured interviews to provide better understanding of the nature of practical CIMIC applications in the studied cases. The empirical data is complemented with non-systematic literature review to show the key elements of CIMIC identified by prior literature.

The research shows that long lasting relationship between the Finnish Border Guard and the municipality of Tornio enabled the organizations to have a joint crisis management operation and effectively coordinate in demanding situations. Representatives of both organizations credit the personal relationships between officials as a key component in successfully cooperating in crisis, but also recognize the importance of organizational partnership. In contrast, the lack of existing relationship and experience in working together caused substantial difficulties in enabling CIMIC in Ukraine by TDF and the city of Vyšhorod. Without proper knowledge on other organizations capabilities and needs, it is proved to be difficult to engage in meaningful cooperation. Also, based on experiences in Ukraine and previous academic literature, inefficient or unsuccessful cooperation between the civil society and the military can risk military overreach in a crisis.

Besides continuous collaboration before a crisis, the research shows the need and benefits in upholding responsibilities and positions of each organization and person in a crisis and maintaining a continuous communication among organizations and actors participating in the crisis management. Together these elements form a resilient operational model of CIMIC that can be utilized to improve the cooperation capabilities of military organizations and local governments.

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Copyright information: © Samuli Juntti, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.