Belgian defense chief visit highlights security commitment to the region

Admiral Michel Hofman with Lt Gen. Martin Herem on Thursday, March 24 2022.
Admiral Michel Hofman with Lt Gen. Martin Herem on Thursday, March 24 2022. Source: Ministry of Defense

Estonia is highly appreciative of Belgium's defensive contribution to the Baltic region, a level of appreciation which works both ways, the highest ranking officers of both nations' armies say.

Speaking Thursday during a visit from Admiral Michel Hofman, Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) commander Lt Gen. Martin Herem said: "We appreciate Belgium's contribution both in strengthening the battle group in Estonia and in contributing to Baltic air security, as one of the most active countries," said Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces.

"For two days, we were able to show how we have built up our defense forces and what we have done in the cyber field."

Admiral Hofman, Lt Gen. Herem's counterpart with the Belgian Defense Forces (Defensie/La Défense) was on an official visit to Estonia, and was given a briefing of the EDF's structure and cyber capabilities and discussed the current security situation.

Admiral Hofman said it had been: "Very interesting to visit the cyber ​defense cooperation center, which has a great reputation in Belgium."

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) is based in Tallinn and was founded in 2008.

Admiral Hofman also laid a wreath at the foot of the War of Independence monument in Tallinn, and met with personnel and leadership from the 1st Infantry Brigade at Tapa, as well as from the British-led NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, also based at Tapa. "I got a very good overview of the EDF and the 1st brigade and the allied battle group serving with it."

"The way you are organized, trained, equipped and prepared for your day-to-day work here in a very specific geographical location is impressive," Admiral Hofman continued.

The Belgian military chief's visit coincided with the opening of the first international ammunition depot to be opened in Estonia

The depot aims to work more efficiently than any previous systems.

Estonia's defensive cooperation with Belgium stretches back several decades, with highlights including the 300-strong Belgian contingent which served with the eFP on rotation in 2019, and the current group of Belgian Air Force (Luchtcomponent/Composante air) F-16 Fighting Falcons based at Ämari with the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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