The staff of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) in April and May underwent a thorough assessment and at the Saber Knight exercise that ended in Latvia this week. According to NATO rules, the brigade is battle ready.
The 10-strong assessment panel evaluated the activity of the brigade during the exercise Siil in southern Estonia and Saber Knight at the Adazi central training ground in Latvia, and assessed the brigade's command procedures, operations, communications and logistics planning and cooperation activity in the international powers and civil-military field. In order to carry out the assessment, the panel used methodology that is used to assess all NATO staffs and units, spokespeople at the headquarters of the defense forces said.
"The positive assessment given to the staff of the brigade gives a sense of security that our main maneuvering unit is able to act efficiently both independently and in cooperation with allies, including the command of the NATO battle group led by the United Kingdom and stationed at Tapa and is on a good level compared to the brigade staffs of other NATO countries," head of the assessment panel Col. Aron Kalmus said, adding that the assessment procedure was thorough and took into consideration all fields and details.
"NATO battle readiness means that in addition to military command and staff work, the maintenance of equipment, medical support, communications tools, the ensuring of security as well as the skill to carry out activities in the composition of a higher unit are on a comparable level. While during Siil, we assessed the brigade's battle readiness in an intense conflict situation, then during the exercise held in Latvia, it could be seen how the brigade operates as part of the Danish Division and in cooperation with other brigades -- how smoothly mutual communication, reports and the battle rhythm are organized," Kalmus said.
The panel consisting of members of the Estonian defense forces assessed the brigade's activity by fields, while the assessment panel was advised by officers of NATO's Allied Land Command.
"Receiving a high assessment of the battle readiness of the 1st Infantry Brigade is not only high acclaim for our professionalism, but the entire defense forces. At the same time, it should also not be overestimated too much as standalone -- it is a natural result of the excellent work of all the people of our brigade and is only one milestone in our very busy training cycle," the commander of the brigade, Col. Veiko-Vello Palm, said.
The 1st Infantry Brigade includes the majority of the units trained during the compulsory conscript service period. The Scouts Battalion, an infantry battalion with rapid response capability and consisting wholly of professional servicemen, is also a part of the 1st Infantry Brigade. The 1st Infantry Brigade also includes Kalev Infantry Battalion, Viru Infantry Battalion, the Artillery Battalion, the Air Defense Battalion, the Combat Engineer Battalion, the Combat Service Support Battalion, the Anti-Tank Company, the Command and Signal Company and the Reconnaissance Company as well as the allied battle group stationed at Tapa.
Saber Knight is a part of the training cycle of the Danish Division, in which according to the scenario of the exercise, planning and conducting of military operations in Baltic countries is practiced. In addition to troops from Estonia and Denmark, others participating in the exercise included allies from Latvia, Lithuania, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, altogether approximately 1,000 uniformed people. The 1st Infantry Brigade has been connected with the Danish Division in terms of training since 2009.
Editor: Dario Cavegn