Estonian personnel take part in major NATO multinational exercise

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Estonia and NATO flags at Ämari air base. Source: Valner Väino/Kaitsevägi

Estonian military personnel have been taking part in a NATO Multinational exercise, aimed at rehearsing the wider defense of the region.

The exercise, dubbed Griffin Lightning, involves NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast, addresses both various hybrid threats as well as a direct military threat. 

Maj. Gen. Indrek Sirel, commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) component – which consists of the main command post – noted COVID-19 considerations led to a major scaling down of Estonia's original plans, adding that the exercise had nevertheless proved useful.

Maj. Gen. Sirel said: "Training exercises like this are an opportunity for us to rehearse skills of critical importance – control and ensuring of situation awareness in collaboration with allies."

"We have often rehearsed it on a smaller scale, involving only representations of command posts. The exercise this time offered an opportunity to train together with the comprehensive headquarters of the corps using all necessary communications and control systems," he went on, as quoted by BNS.

The multinational divisions North and Northeast and NATO force integration units in the three Baltic States and Poland have been involved in the exercise, a command post exercise of the Multinational Corps Northeast based in Poland

The capability of the corps when acting in command of operations is being tested during the exercise, which runs until March 12.

NATO command posts of various levels have been rehearsing cooperation and defending the region against aggression, while Estonia's main focus is on sharing of situational  awareness and information exchange, as well as coordinating with NATO units and civilian structures.

Information exchanged between command posts and coordination of activities is vital in real life crises, Maj. Gen. Sirel said.

Poland's NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup is U.S.-led, while Estonia's is U.K.-led and contributed to by French, Danish and Belgian units. Latvia's battlegroup comprises militaries from several nations and is Canadian-led, while Germany heads up the Lithuanian eFP.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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