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Defence Ministry: Speed of units moving across Europe needs to improve

Jonatan Vseviov (left) meeting Gen. Darren W. McDew (right).
Jonatan Vseviov (left) meeting Gen. Darren W. McDew (right). Source: (Kaitseministeerium)

Secretary-general of the Ministry of Defence, Jonatan Vseviov, said after a meeting with U.S. Gen. Darren W. McDew earlier this week that the speed of relocation of NATO forces in Europe needed to improve.

Gen. McDew heads the U.S. Transport Command (USTRANSCOM), the United States’ global defense logistics system. Its five services cover air, sea, and land transport, and as such moving American military equipment from one place to another in Europe is their job.

According to Vseviov, the U.S. is constantly improving the strategic relocation of its follow-up troops to Europe as well as units inside Europe, and Estonia has its own role and interest regarding the issue.

“Estonia is actively working together with its allies in NATO and with other member states of the European Union to make the transport of equipment and units in Europe smoother and faster,” Vseviov said.

“We have to make the transport of forces faster, and this requires the necessary planning, infrastructure development, and simplification of the bureaucracy. With regard to the latter we see great potential in the EU,” Vseviov was quoted in a press release.

During his visit, Gen. McDew also met with deputy commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Brig. Gen. Indrek Sirel, and visited the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence as well as the Ämari air base.

Moving weaponry and troops around in Europe is one of the most pressing issues for both NATO and the EU to solve, as in case of a crisis the reaction speed depends on the smooth movement of units. A major exercise in this kind of defense cooperation was Sabre Strike 2016, when the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe moved several units and very large amounts of equipment from Germany through Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia to Estonia.

Efforts have since been made to create a kind of “defense Schengen”, an area of harmonized legislation and conditions that would allow the movement of troops at a faster pace.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: ERR, BNS

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