Brig. Giles Harris returns to command NATO eFP in Estonia

Brigadier Giles Harris, incoming commander of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup.
Brigadier Giles Harris, incoming commander of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup. Source: NATO

Brigadier Giles Harris of the British Army returns to Estonia as the new Commander of the United Kingdom's contribution to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup.

Speaking of the posting, Brig. Harris said: "I am honored to be back in Estonia as the new eFP commander, for the next two years. My family and I love living here, and we are very excited to be back."

Much has changed since Brig. Harris, then a Colonel, completed his last stint as eFP commander, in 2019.

"Now, more than ever, the security of Estonia and the wider region is critical, so growing and maintaining our operational and defensive effectiveness is paramount," he said, via an eFP press release.

"After commanding the first deployment of this operation, I am eager to continue our crucial task with familiar and friendly faces, alongside NATO friends and allies."

From the Estonian side, Gen. Martin Herem, commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) said: "Brig. Giles Harris assuming command of NATO's eFP battlegroup in Estonia is highly appreciated, since his previous experience and knowledge of the Estonian environment strongly supports the integration of allied units into Estonia's national defense plan, and thus increases national defense capabilities."

"The U.K.'s contribution to Estonian defense as the lead nation of the NATO eFP has been noticeable and will increase over the upcoming years due to assigning a full brigade to support Estonian defense," Gen. Herem continued.

The U.K. is the lead nation in the eFP in Estonia, a battlegroup with equivalents in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Brig. Harris has a long-standing history with Estonia and its military, having served with elements of the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade in Helmand, Afghanistan in 2009, going on to become the eFP's first commander, in early 2017 when it first materialized.

His work then comprised a major part of the first phase of establishing the eFP as an important component of Estonia's defensive plan, and its interoperability and cohesiveness with the 1st Infantry Brigade and with allied personnel participating in the eFP, principally from France and Denmark.

Harris was made up to Brigadier in January this year, and has also been decorated with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and the Estonian Order of the Cross of the Eagle (Third Class) (X).

The eFP now comprises over 1,000 personnel from the U.K., France and Denmark, with support from Iceland, while the overall number of personnel from those four nations to have been on rotation in Estonia over the past six years stands at over 12,000.

Brig. Harris replaces the outgoing Col. Dai Bevan, who was presented with the Order of Merit at a ceremony at the Ministry of Defense in Tallinn this week. The eFP was commanded by Col. Paul Clayton, in between the end of Brig. Harris' last term and the start of Col. Bevan's, two years ago.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: NATO eFP

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