The main topic of the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence, held yesterday and today in Brussels, was the continued application of the Alliance in accordance with the security situation, to ensure sustainable deterrence and defence for all member countries.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC), which is the principal political decision-making body of NATO, consisting of NATO Ministers of Defence, decided to support the proposal for changes to the NATO Command Structure. The modification of the structure, including the creation of two new commands and the reconfiguring of the activities of existing commands, is necessary in order to ensure the implementation of sustainable collective defence.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, it is of great importance to Estonia’s security that NATO be ready to quickly reposition its Allied Forces and supplies to those areas in particular where they are needed most.
“Under the command of the United Kingdom, the NATO battalion combat group serving in Estonia is only the tip of the iceberg, the Eastern tip of the Allied Forces. It is important for us that the Alliance be ready, if the need should arise, to quickly dispatch the precise number of additional required forces required to our region,” said Minister of Defence Luik. “By improving our repositioning capability, NATO is ready to react to all possible threats that are facing the Alliance both now and in the future.”
The NATO Ministers of Defence also discussed the security situation in Afghanistan and the need to further contribute there. The nature of Resolute Support, NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, is one of supporting and advising the country and its military forces, and does not engage in combat operations.
Minister of Defence Luik said that it is important that NATO be present in Afghanistan with sufficient military force to ensure long-term sustainable development. It is therefore also necessary to pay attention to the Alliance's wish to increase the number of servicemen participating in the operation.
“As a member of NATO, Estonia also has a role to play here,” admitted Luik. “The Estonian Defence Forces are operating in Afghanistan within the limits of the current mandate, which means a total of five servicemen at present, of whom four are engaged in providing instruction and advice in the field of mine clearance. Whether Estonia should increase its mandate is a topic for national discussion, one that we must now begin to deal with.”
In addition, Minister of Defence Luik also met bilaterally with the Defence Ministers of the United Kingdom, Norway, and Portugal.
Newly appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson reiterated his country’s dedication to the defence of Estonia through the NATO combat group being led by the UK.
At his meeting with Norwegian colleague Frank Bakke Jensen and Portuguese colleague José Alberto Azeredo Lopes, Minister of Defence Luik discussed the importance of the North-Atlantic Council in the defence of NATO, as well as the need to deal with ensuring the 360 degree security of the Alliance, continuously operating in every direction.