Ministry of Defence Press Release
Estonian Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo agreed with his Lithuanian colleague Rasa Juknevičienė on July 27 to add additional units to the Baltic Battalion after Latvia was forced to reduce its commitment due to the difficult economic situation.
In 2006, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania decided to jointly commit a battalion size unit to the 14th rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF-14) in the first half of 2010. The leading country of the battalion of about 800 men is Lithuania. Until now Estonia has promised to include an infantry company, a reconnaissance platoon, a logistic support unit, a military police unit and staff officers, altogether 192 members of the Defence Forces. So far, this is the largest commitment of the Estonian Defence Forces to NATO Response Forces.
According to the Minister of Defence, Jaak Aaviksoo, the addition of the Baltic Battalion to the NRF is an important project for Estonia and other Baltic states. “In order to maintain our reliability, it is very important that despite difficult economic conditions this project remains a joint undertaking of the three Baltic States. I am glad that Latvia still maintains its involvement, although in reduced form, and Lithuania has decided to take on significantly larger additional duties,” said the Minister of Defence.
It was decided yesterday that Lithuania will add an additional infantry company and an anti-tank platoon and Estonia will add explosive ordnance disposal and military police specialists to the battalion.
The cooperation training of the Baltic infantry battalion took place during the “Baltic Eagle” exercises in Latvia at Adaži military training area at the beginning of June and the battalion received NATO accreditation.
The NATO Response Force was established in 2003 as an integrated navy, army and air forces joint unit to fulfil the tasks of the North Atlantic Council. NATO Response Force combines elite units that can be deployed to various parts of the world in a five days notice to fulfil military tasks.
Baltbat remains a joint project of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania