The US and Estonia sign a five-year road map on defence cooperation

The United States and Estonia signed a five-year defence cooperation agreement at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, that will continue the cooperation between the two countries through 2024.

The document was signed by the acting assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs, Kathryn L. Wheelbarger, and the Estonian undersecretary for defence policy, Kadi Silde, on 22 May, the US department of defence said in a statement.

“The foundation for strong allied relations between Estonia and the United States has been long-term and multifaceted cooperation,” the defence department said. “The agreement confirms the continuation of the cooperation and mapping future directions for work.”

During the next five years, the plan will focus on the more systematic development of bilateral security cooperation and achieving the objectives set forth in the national defence development plan, one of the basic documents for planning Estonia’s national defence capability, the defence department added.

Estonian and U.S. soldiers train during a combat exercise near Tapa, Estonia, on 6 April 2017. Army photo by Jason Johnston.

Areas of cooperation between Estonia and the United States include capability development and defence-related aid, training exercises, cyber defence, the Estonian Defence League, training areas and host nation support, officials said.

Training and information exchange at the core

Estonia uses defence-related aid from the United States as an accelerator for defence investments to develop Estonia’s independent defence capability and concluding possible joint procurements with Latvia and Lithuania.

Estonian and U.S. soldiers conduct live-fire training during a combat exercise near Tapa, Estonia, on 6 April 2017. Army photo by Jason Johnston.

At the core of cyber defence cooperation is training, information exchange, planning and capability development – with the goal to improve the countries’ capability to cope with the opponents’ cyberattack operations, the defence department said.

“Cooperation in the specified fields increases defence cooperation between Estonia and the United States improves Estonia’s independent defence capability and contributes to strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture on NATO’s eastern wing,” the defence department statement added.

Cover: The acting assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs, Kathryn L. Wheelbarger, and the Estonian undersecretary for defence policy, Kadi Silde, sign the five-year defence cooperation agreement at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., on 22 May 2019. DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith.