US assistant defense secretary says visit confirms NATO Estonia pledge

Dr. James H. Anderson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities. Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Dr. James H. Anderson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities, was in Estonia May 16-18, meeting with the Ministry of Defence and the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), to discuss opportunities to deepen the U.S.-Estonia defense relationship.

Anderson's visit underscores America's ironclad commitment to NATO, according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, as well as underlining and how both nations are working in tandem to improve NATO readiness and advance bilateral defense cooperation. 

Anderson's visit also took in the Ämari Air Base, west of Tallinn and home of NATO's Baltic Air Policing operations in Estonia.

The U.S. has invested a reported USD 17 million in the base, aimed at improving its capacity and preparedness.

The Assistant Secretary of Defense also met the EDF's special forces leadership, who briefed him on how Estonian and American service members train and exercise together to improve readiness and interoperability, as well as appearing on a panel focusing on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn on Saturday.

The U.S. has provided over USD 100 million in combined security assistance to Estonia over the past few years, it is reported, and of nearly 150 military-to-military engagements per year, over 60 involve U.S. personnel in Estonia. 

Dr. James H. Anderson was confirmed in his current role by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 28, 2018, having served three years as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Marine Corps University. He also previously worked as Professor of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies, and worked at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, at the Pentagon, 2001-2009.  

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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