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Defence Newsletter 15-31 March 2013

16.04.2013  18:03

The following information is gathered from open sources, mainly from the Baltic News Service (BNS), respective defence ministries press releases and websites as well as various newspapers, etc.


THE BALTICS
• Lithuania took over chairmanship of SUCBAS
• Exercise and Training

ESTONIA
• Estonian air force opens new radar station
• Tallinn Seaplane Harbor wins EU cultural heritage prize
• Estonian Kaitseliit receives 95 vehicles from Germany
• New Kaitseliit competition to be named after Admiral Pitka
• Estonian EOD specialist to Mali
• Estonian government to discuss cyber security strategy
• Danish and Estonian defence chiefs discuss cooperation
• Outbreak at Estonian base is over
• Reduced defence budgets is a problem for NATO
• NATO Cyber Security Center in Tallinn publishes cyber-attack handbook
• Estonia now in six missions
• Naval battle in Tallinn during maritime festival
• Second Estonian EUTM Mali officer begins service
• Exercise and Training

 
THE BALTICS

Lithuania took over chairmanship of SUCBAS
On 19-21 March during a meeting of the Coordination Group and the Steering Board of the Sea Surveillance Cooperation Baltic Sea (SUCBAS) in Klaipeda the annual chairmanship of the SUCBAS Coordination Group was transferred to Lithuania.
At the meeting the opportunities for cooperation in maritime surveillance with countries and institutions that currently are not participants of the SUCBAS was discussed and the activities completed in 2012 and this year’s agenda were addressed.

Exercise and Training
Preparations for the Baltic Host exercise took place
On 19-21 March the main Concept Development Conference for the Host Nation Support (HNS) Exercise Baltic Host of the three Baltic States took place in Voru, Estonia. The objective of the conference was to concept the Exercise Plan to be used in the exercise this autumn among the Baltic States and participating countries and to address the most current points of preparation for the exercise that will take place in November.
This exercise will test and refine the procedures of rendering HNS to the allied forces deployed in the Baltic region.  


ESTONIA
Estonian air force opens new radar station

On 26 March the Estonian Air Force opened a new radar station on the island of Muhu in western Estonia. Chief of the Air Force, Col. Jaak Tarien, said: “A decent air surveillance picture is vital both for flights of NATO fighters and for the functioning of different air defence systems […]”. The radar station consists of a Thales Ground Master 403.

Tallinn Seaplane Harbor wins EU cultural heritage prize
On 26 March the restored WWI-era seaplane Hangars in Tallinn’s Seaplane Harbor was unveiled as one of the winners of the 2013 European Union prize for cultural heritage. 30 winners were selected from nearly 200 nominated projects.

Estonian Kaitseliit receives 95 vehicles from Germany
On 25 March the Estonian Defence League said 100 vehicles, previously used by the German defence forces, had been purchased for two million euros, including repairs and transport. He model is Mercedez-Benz 1017A.

New Kaitseliit competition to be named after Admiral Pitka
On 25 March the Estonian Defence League announced it will replace the international military endurance competition ‘Erna Raid’ with one named after Admiral Johan Pitka, founder of the Estonian volunteer corps. The first ‘Admiral Pitka Recon Challenge’ will be held this August.

Estonian EOD specialist to Mali
On 22 March it was reported that an Estonian bomb specialist had begun at three-month tour of duty in Mali to train local specialists in response to a request by the Swedish civil emergencies agency MSB. “Our men know well the Russian ordinance and there’s a lot of it in Africa” head of the Rescue Boards Explosive Ordinance Disposal Center, Arno Pugonen, said.

Estonian government to discuss cyber security strategy
On 21 March the Estonian government is scheduled to discuss to Estonian cyber security strategy until 2017. The development plan will list goals and activities in five realms: protection of critical infrastructure, enhancing competence in information security, shaping of the legal space necessary for ensuring cyber security, international cooperation and informing on matters of cyber security. The final version is to be presented to the government in December.

Danish and Estonian defence chiefs discuss cooperation
On 21 March the Danish chief of defence, Gen. Peter Bartram, met with his Estonian counterpart, Maj. Gen. Riho Terras and talked about cooperation between the two countries. Bartram said the NATO smart defence concept and Nordic-Baltic cooperation provides significant opportunities for small states and gave credit to the Estonian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Outbreak at Estonian base is over
On 21 March all soldiers of the Kuperjanov infantry battalion were back on duty after being hit by an outbreak of novovirus. All in all 248 soldiers were affected.

Reduced defence budgets is a problem for NATO
On 18 March Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves discussed with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen the problem of many countries cutting down their defence budgets. If the development continues, it will be increasingly hard to convince the Americans of the importance of their participation in securing Europe’s safety, the president said. He also said it is equally important to spend the money so it benefits the alliance the most.

NATO Cyber Security Center in Tallinn publishes cyber-attack handbook
On 18 March the NATO Cyber Security Center in Tallinn announced the publication of a handbook for online attacks named the ‘Tallinn manual’. The 282-page handbook applies international laws to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protection in case of an online attack. The handbook was described as a first-of-a-kind by Marco Roscini, teacher of international law at University of Westminster, London.

Estonia now in six missions
On 16 March it was reported that with the EUTM Mali, Estonia is now participating in six missions abroad. The missions are: NATO in Afghanistan, NATO KFOR in Kosovo, EU anti-piracy mission Atlanta in Gulf of Aden, UNTSO in the Middle East, EUTM in Mali, and from March anti-terrorism operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean.

Naval battle in Tallinn during maritime festival
On 16 March it was announced that five old ships will take part in a naval battle to be acted out in the bay of Tallinn during the maritime festival from July 12-14th. No real cannonballs will be used, a captain of one of the ships assures.

Second Estonian EUTM Mali officer begins service
On 16 March an Estonian NCO began service at the EUTM headquarters in Bamako. This marked the second of the two staff officers that Estonia will contribute to the Mali mission with. The officers are sent for two six-month tours of duty.

Exercise and Training
Estonia to participate in 35 military exercises
On 25 March Estonian Defence Minister, Urmas Reinsalu confirmed that the defence forces will participate in 35 international exercises this year. Among them are NATO Steadfast Jazz, Spring Storm in Estonia, Saber Strike in Lithuania, Baltic Region Training Event and Cyber Coalition 2013.


Aistė Aurelija Azbytė (Secretary to the Defence Attaché), Rune Møller Thomsen (trainee/Tallinn)