Minister of Defence Jüri Luik opened the 38th Higher National Defence Courses at Roosta.
The Minister of Defence admitted that the defensive will of the Estonian people remains high and is reflected in specific activities, such as the recently completed large-scale training exercise Siil 2018 (Hedgehog 2018).
‘The training exercise Siil was also a very important means for demonstrating deterrence, said Luik. ‘Our mission is to show our opponents that attacking us presents such a risk that the costs of taking such a step outweigh any possible benefits'. According to Luik, the determination of the Estonian people in protecting our country is also necessary in order to send a signal to our opponents and this is why training exercises such as Siil are necessary.
The Minister of Defence confirmed that, in addition to the military aspects, an important element of deterrence is a close political connection with our allies in NATO. Maintaining and strengthening this connection is also one of the foundations of Estonia's security policy. ‘In the same way that we are hosting allied forces in Estonia on a permanent basis, we are also contributing our soldiers together with our allies, for example, in Afghanistan and Mali,' said Luik.
The purpose of the Estonian National Defence Course is to provide an introduction to Estonia’s security, foreign and defence policies, as well as the broad concept of national defence, to an audience of politicians, senior state officials and servicemen, top economic and opinion leaders, cultural and educational practitioners, journalists and NGOs, in order to enhance cooperation and social cohesion in the field of national defence.
During the course, participants will receive an overview of the state of international affairs in our region, military national defence, internal security and broad-based national defence, and the newest military developments.
Higher National Defence Courses have been organised since 1999. To date, more than 1800 people have completed the biannual courses. The courses are being organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security.