Estonia and U.S. signed a roadmap for defense collaboration 2019-2024

On 22 May, 2019, in Washington, Kadi Silde, Undersecretary for Defence Policy at the Estonian Ministry of Defence, and Kathryn Wheelbarger, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs, signed the Estonia-United States Roadmap for Defence Cooperation for 2019–2024 at the Pentagon.

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A member of the Estonian Defense Force shares a meal-ready-to-eat (MRE) with U.S. Army Spc. Angelique Helkowski, 290th Military Police Company, Maryland National Guard, May 6, 2019, in Ida-Viru County, Estonia. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

Estonia joins Lithuania and Latvia in the five-year defense cooperation agreement between the Defense Department and the Baltic states. The foundation for strong allied relations between Estonia and the United States has been long-term and multifaceted cooperation. The agreement confirms the continuation of the cooperation and mapping future directions for work, officials said.

During the next five years, the plan will focus on the more systematic development of bilateral security cooperation and achieving the objectives set forth in the national defense development plan, one of the basic documents for planning Estonia's national defense capability.

Areas of cooperation between Estonia and the United States include capability development and defense-related aid, training exercises, cyber defense, the Estonian Defense League, training areas and host nation support, officials said.

Estonia uses defense-related aid from the United States as an accelerator for defense investments to develop Estonia's independent defense capability and concluding possible joint procurements with other Baltic republics.

At the core of cyber defense cooperation is training, information exchange, planning and capability development — with the goal to improve the countries' capability to cope with the opponents' cyber attack operations.

Broad-based national defense principles are adhered to within the cooperation plan when it comes to dealing with security problems, and cooperation with the police and border guard board, in addition to defense forces and defense league.

Cooperation in the specified fields increases defense cooperation between Estonia and the United States, improves Estonia's independent defense capability and contributes to strengthening NATO's deterrence and defense posture on NATO's eastern wing, officials said, adding that specific activities for implementing defense cooperation between Estonia and the United States will be agreed upon at future bilateral meetings.

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