The chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, on 26-28 October travelled to Estonia where he met with state officials and commended the country for its contributions to the alliance.
Peach met with Estonian officials, including president Kersti Kaljulaid and the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Major General Martin Herem. He also visited the 1st Infantry Brigade, the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group, and the Tallinn-based Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.
“Your troops serve in Afghanistan and you contribute personnel to our mission in Iraq. You host part of our NATO Air Policing mission at your base in Amari as well as an eFP Battle Group and an NFIU. You actively contribute to our maritime demining efforts with a minehunter. You share your expertise on cyber defence, through the NATO Cyber Centre of Excellence and the NATO Cyber Range,” Sir Stuart said while meeting with Major General Herem.
“Estonia makes valuable contributions to our shared security by helping defend the Alliance in the air, at sea, on land and in cyber space.”
“Our allies stand together as one”
Before departing Tallinn, Sir Stuart received a regional security brief from the Military Intelligence Centre and met with Colonel Mart Vendla, the commander of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Estonia. He also participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the War of Independence Victory Column which honours the thousands who died fighting for Estonian Independence from 1918-1920.
At the 1st Infantry Brigade in Tapa, Sir Stuart was briefed by Colonel Paul Clayton, the commander of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group. The chairman praised the coordination of NATO forces across the Alliance and particularly in Estonia.
“Troops from the UK, Denmark and Iceland are working together to protect our alliance and safeguard our borders. This is the personification of solidarity and interoperability. NATO’s battlegroups in the Baltic States and Poland send a clear message: our allies stand together as one.”
Estonia leads by example on defence spending
He then met the president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, whom he thanked for Estonia’s ongoing assistance to the alliance, including during the pandemic. “Estonia has shown tremendous solidarity with allies and partners throughout the COVID-19 crisis, for instance, by donating critical medical supplies to Italy and Spain, and supporting Georgia and Ukraine,” Sir Stuart noted.
During his visit to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, he received a brief and learned more about the centre’s current research, training and exercises, including the release of its country reports. These reports aim to improve the awareness of cybersecurity management in the various national settings, support nations in enhancing their own cybersecurity governance, encourage the spread of best practices as well as contribute to the development of interagency and international cooperation, NATO said in a statement.
Sir Stuart concluded his trip by meeting the chairman of the National Defence Committee and members of the Estonian parliament. Sitting down with Kristjan Prikk, the permanent secretary of the defence ministry, the chairman acknowledged that “Estonia leads by example on defence spending, investing more than 2% of GDP in defence”, referring to Estonia’s recent decision to increase its defence budget to €645.4 million, constituting 2.29% of the country’s GDP.
Cover: Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach met with Estonian officials, including president Kersti Kaljulaid. Photos by the Estonian Defence Forces.