NATO Military Committee chair: New era in global security
Heads of allied defense forces met in Tallinn to discuss strategic developments on Saturday.
The NATO Military Committee met in Tallinn on Friday and Saturday to flesh out deterrence and defense activities following the Madrid summit decisions. The chiefs also discussed ongoing NATO missions and activities, including the Iraq (NMI) and Kosovo (KFOR) missions.
"Without a doubt, a new era for global security has begun. It is crystal clear that this conflict is bigger than Ukraine. The entire international rules-based order is under attack. And it is up to the free democratic nations of the world to protect it," Adm. Rob Bauer, head of the NATO Military Committee, said at the event press conference.
The heads of the Finnish and Swedish defense forces were invited to take part in the conference for the first time. The accession of Finland and Sweden, with their impressive defense capabilities, will both enhance the security of the Baltic Sea region and strengthen the alliance as a whole, Bauer said.
"Aktuaalne kaamera" news asked whether the two countries can already be involved in defense planning. In other words, that while Finland and Sweden received an invite to the party, were they also asked to dance. Finland and Sweden must wait for all alliance members to ratify their accession, the admiral replied.
"They were not invited to dance, to use your term. But they were here to learn how we discuss these things, what the discussions are about and to get acquainted to the procedures," Adm. Bauer said.
The accession of the modern armed forces and arctic dimension of Finland and Sweden constitutes good news for NATO, despite there being more territory to defend.
"We get more territory to defend. And we get a long border with Russia. But we also get Finland and Sweden's armed forces that are very capable to help guard that territory and longer border. Russia will get a longer border with NATO without extra troops."
Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Lt. Gen. Martin Herem said that Saturday's discussions were centered around an understanding of a considerably altered security situation. "Our most urgent task is to support Ukraine," Herem said.
"We are witnesses to how aid can alter the course of war. It is to be hoped it will bring peace closer for the Ukrainians," he added.
The EDF commander reiterated his position that he does not consider keeping a brigade-sized unit permanently in Estonia to be purposeful, and that rapid deployment of troops is more important.
Col. Dai Bevan, head of the NATO Battlegroup in Estonia, has previously said that 10,000 soldiers have served in Estonia over the last five years of whom 8,000 British. A headquarters to see to their leadership is needed on location.
"Estonia presented the idea to reorganize part of the EDF structure to make it divisional, which should make NATO reaction before, during and after day zero much faster and clearer."
The NATO Military Committee meets twice a year for a defense chiefs session in Brussels and once at a conference organized by one of the allies.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski