Expert Profile

Mr Niko Orell
Position(s) Senior Crisis Management Advisor

Mr Niko Orell is the Senior Crisis Management Advisor at Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Previously, he worked as Military and Security Policy Adviser for EU Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Management in Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU in Brussels. Niko is an accomplished military leader, fighter pilot and combat veteran with over 25 years operational experience in security and defense management within a military and diplomatic context in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He speaks Finnish, English, and French.

He has an impressive track record of advising the EU Political and Security Committee, as well as the EU and NATO Military Committees, on Crisis Management. Niko has been part of EU-level working groups to draw up the EU Crisis Management Concepts and Mission Plans, and has planned, staffed, and implemented EU operations in Europe, Africa, and the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, he has also advised on conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.

In 2013, Mr. Orell was awarded a defense medal by the German Defense Minister for his outstanding merits in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan. He has worked in the United Nations (MINUSMA) for the Sahel region, conducting training with troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Liberia, Egypt, and Côte d’Ivoire. In 2020 Niko was involved in starting the EU's crisis management operation in Mozambique.

As a Lt Col (GS), (Finnish Air Force, retired) Mr Orell is an accomplished military leader who has held various positions of responsibility throughout his career. From 2016-19, he was Commander of the Regional Air Operations Center in eastern boarder of Finland, where he managed a team of 150 specialists, operators, and technical staff. His unit was responsible for air surveillance and execution of air defense. Between 2012-16, Mr. Orell worked at Finnish National Defense University as Principal Lecturer and led the Staff Officer Course, specializing in Operational Arts, Strategy and Warfare. He was responsible for designing and delivering courses for military officers and civil servants from Finland and abroad, emphasizing the importance of cooperation and inter-agency coordination in crisis management. He has experience as a lecturer of operational planning, situational awareness, decision making, aviation and aerial warfare.

Niko holds a Master's degree in Military Science and was awarded academic recognition for his Postgraduate Research paper discussing situational awareness and information management in uncertainty during military operations. He participated in the Senior Staff Officer course in 2010-11 at National Defense University and has a minor in pedagogical sciences from The University of Helsinki. He has also published articles on the topics of crisis management, leadership, and situational awareness, and has been invited as a speaker to numerous conferences and workshops on these subjects. Mr. Orell has received several awards and commendations throughout his career for his outstanding service and dedication to crisis management and security.

We are delighted to count Niko Orell among our Experts here at GCSP.