Estonian World has become the first media outlet to launch a security section dedicated to the defence matters of the Baltic Sea region.
In 2007, Estonia faced cyber-attacks that have been widely acknowledged as the world’s first cyber war. At the peak of these attacks, fifty-eight Estonian websites were offline, including those of the government, most newspapers and banks.
Politically motivated large-scale assaults such as this brought the attention of the international community to cyber security. It was not established as to whether this kind of an offence would qualify as an attack against a member state of NATO and hence activate collective defence under Article V. It was not even clear if a state could legitimately respond to cyber-attacks. As Estonia became a NATO member in 2004, the organisation took the attacks seriously enough to ultimately establish the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. The centre has recently organised the publication of the Tallinn Manual — one of the first attempts to set some guiding principles in the legal affairs of conflicts in cyberspace.
Estonia is also one of the few members of NATO to spend 2% of its GDP on defence budget and has actively participated with other NATO allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Co-operation between the Baltic states in defence matters is also stronger than in other areas. The Baltic Defence College is a multi-lateral co-operative military college which educates officers from not only the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), but also from NATO and EU states and other European countries. Every year, the US Army Europe leads a security cooperation exercise Saber Strike which focuses on the three Baltic States. This year, the exercise spanned multiple locations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and involved approximately 2,000 staff from 14 countries.
We launched this section in order to analyse and write about these defence and security matters in the Baltic Sea region in more detail. Although generally EstonianWorld is more of a magazine than a news portal, this new section will also feature current defence news.
We are also happy to consider freelance contributions, to receive news, photo and video content for this section.
Photos: Estonian Defence Forces