Today, Estonian Minister of Defence Jüri Luik met with Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff to discuss Baltic Sea regional security, defence cooperation and international security situation.
“The U.S. Air Force active participation in Estonian military exercise is important, as the U.S. military presence in general in the Baltic Sea region creates an credible deterrence effect,” Luik said.
To improve Estonia´s air defence, it is vital the countries in the Baltic Sea region work closely and all the military systems are integrated. In recent years, the U.S. has made considerable investments to improve the infrastructure at Estonian Air Force Base in Ämari.
At the meeting, Gen. Goldfein assured the U.S. unwavering commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Washington Treaty and praised Estonia for meeting the two percent benchmark in defence spending. In addition, matters of missile defence and A2/AD, as well as the situation in Iran and recent developments in Hormuz strait, were discussed.
Later in the day, Gen. Goldfein met with the Commander of Defence Forces of Estonia, Maj.Gen. Martin Herem; Col. Riivo Valge, Commander of the Air Force; Col. Andres Hairk, Commander of the Cyber Command and Col. Jaak Tarien, the Director of the NATO CCDCOE, as well as participated in the Air Show to mark the centenary of the Estonian Air Force. As part of the air show, the U.S. F-35 aircraft conducted a flyover.
“Estonia now has the Air Force that is 100 years old and which is well recognised by our Allies and friends. I find it remarkable that the chief of one of the most credible air force globally, has taken the time to congratulate one of the smallest air force´s in the world. It is an honour as well as a recognition to our contribution to NATO,” Col. Riivo Valge, Commander of Estonian Air Force said.
Gen. Goldfein is the highest ranking military leader in the U.S. Air Force and also serves as the Member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which advises the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council in military matters.
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