Estonia plays through various security threat scenarios at NATO crisis manangement exercise
Running from March 9 to 16, Estonia is participating in a NATO crisis management exercise which will focus on playing through various realistic scenarios which could come up in relation to Russia, Syria or other security threats and which may lead to the invocation of Articles 4 or 5 of the NATO Treaty.
Speaking to ERR via phone yesterday, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand explained that the goal of the crisis management exercise, dubbed CMX16, is to practice crisis management at political, military and civilian levels. Estonian participants of the exercise include members of the government, border guard, headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, security police, the Estonian Information Board, and representatives of other various agencies as well. Approximately 2,000 participants in total are involved in the NATO exercise.
The purpose of the exercise is to play through all possible scenarios that could involve NATO’s Articles 4 and 5, the articles involving consultation and collective defense, respectively. Kaljurand did not elaborate on the details of these scenarios, however she did emphasize that the exercise would be covering all possible security threat scenarios. “It is important to see how Articles 4 and 5 will operate in practice,” she said.
The criteria for the invocation of Article 5 have been debated for some time, including whether or not it would go into force in hybrid war situations.
According to Kaljurand, actually playing through various situations during this exercise will help to clarify what the decision-making process will look like in deciding when NATO’s collective defense should kick in.
CMX16 will be testing measures adopted at the NATO Wales summit in 2014 regarding what exactly would precede and follow the invocation of the treaty’s Articles 4 and 5.
The Estonian Information Board presented a 48-page public report on external threats yesterday in which the Information Board’s Director General Mikk Marran presented the conflict in Syria as one possible indirect security threat. According to the scenario detailed by Marran, Turkey and Russia becoming involved in military conflict could lead to an incident to which NATO is forced to respond, to which Russia would coordinate limited military operations on Estonian territory in order to gain a stronger position in talks regarding the conflict. This was of course, as stated, just one possible scenario.
Marina Kaljurand said that she would leave it to the Information Board itself to comment on the scenarios included in the board’s report. In light of the NATO crisis management exercise, however, she stressed that “All realistic security threats with which NATO is faced today were taken into consideration in the context of this exercise—both those threats which may come from the east and those which may come from the south.” This also includes issues involving terrorism and hybrid warfare.
CMX16 will help participants clarify any potential weaknesses in responses to various security situations. A summary of the exercise will be compiled afterward, and part of the conclusions drawn based on this summary will eventually be made available to the public as well.