Renewed: 12.04.2014, 13:09

11 April 2014 13:58

NATO and U.S. European Command representatives meet in Estonia

NATO and U.S. European Command representatives meet in Estonia NATO and U.S. European Command representatives meet in Estonia

Today, a week-long NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum-hosted conference, Baltic Spring, concluded.  The conference focussed on regional security in the Baltic Sea area and took place in Tartu, Estonia.

According to Commander JFC Brunssum, General Hans-Lothar Domröse, it´s important that his headquarters acts as a hub for bringing together all the Northern region headquarters to make necessary adjustments to existing threat assessments, especially in the wake of recent events in Europe.

“We have established a very good personal relationship to assess the situation together and form a common view on this.  While the conference is regular in its nature, recent events do have an impact on our work,” General Domröse stressed.

“Our threat perception has changed and we have to evaluate whether current counter-measures are sufficient.  Our job here is to formulate recommendations that can be passed to SHAPE and representatives of NATO member nations so that future capability decisions are the result of informed consideration,” Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans JFC Brunssum, Major General Hans van Griensven, added.

Baltic Spring is an annual conference that offers a venue for NATO commands, including SHAPE, Maritime, Air, Land, Special Forces command, STRIKEFORNATO, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and Armed Forces´ representatives from Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and the Partner Nations Finland and Sweden, to discuss regional security issues, exchange views and raise situational awareness. The conference also aims at fostering interoperability between NATO and Baltic nations and provides a platform for sustained, long-term, and enduring NATO commitment to the Baltic region.

“The event is part of our regional focus, but it´s important to recognise that we are already doing several activities in the region, such as the JFC Brunssum certification exercise Steadfast Jazz last year, using an Article V scenario.  That´s already an assurance that we are taking things seriously,” ACOS J5 at JFC Brunssum, Brigadier General Torgeir Gråtrud, commented.

During the academic session the attendees received overviews on Baltic history and NATO relations with the UN, Russia and the pretext Russian Federation used in the Crimea intervention.  Dr. Brooke Windsor-Smith, a researcher at NATO Defence College, highlighted that President Putin´s recent actions are making collective defence more relevant to the Alliance than it has been in recent years.  “It is very likely that collective defence will now become the main narrative of the upcoming NATO summit to be held in Wales,” he added.

“For the past ten years the focus of NATO has been abroad - the reason being that there was no significant nearby threat perceived so the Alliance adopted a more expeditionary outlook.  Because of recent events in Crimea and the Ukraine we have to consider the Article V threat as a real possibility again,” Major General van Griensven added when talking about the Alliance´s future challenges.

This year Baltic Spring was organised for the fourth time.  In the autumn, the respective commands and headquarters meet at the staff officer level to discuss the detailed issues of military cooperation.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at]mil.ee, Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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