Coordination tops Baltic military chiefs’ agenda

The results of Baltic military coordination now that the time has come for showing a united line of defense are very encouraging, Latvia’s Commander of the National Armed Forces Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube told LTV news program Rīta Panorāma.

Speaking by phone Tuesday on his way to a summit of the Baltic States Military Committee in the Lithuanian coastal resort city of Palanga, Graube said he was pleased with the unanimous call for coordinated actions amongst the three states bordering Russia directly with the EU and NATO. He said he saw no need to overstate the idea of combining forces so much as coordinating their actions within the framework of NATO activities over the territories of six regional states.

“This calls for very close cooperation and mutual understanding in order to be able to act in concert, which in fact is where our power lies. I’ve always been quite satisfied with the fact that Baltic military cooperation was provided for in hindsight, and we now see the results of it,” he said.

Rather than chart new operations, the commanders of Lithuania’s, Latvia’s and Estonia’s armed forces will be looking at how their existing common projects are proceeding. “For the first time this year our Baltic Battalion will take part in the larger NATO training drills in Spain and Portugal, and there are lots of practical preparations involved,” Graube cited an example of the hard logistics faced by the leadership of the three countries military organizations.

In light of the budget constraints squeezing all sectors of the national economy, despite vows of boosting expenditures for defense under the newly uncertain security conditions, Graube said “we just have to think of how to more effectively use the resources we have,” referring to likely cost-saving measures such as sharing territories for training operations and not doubling up unnecessarily on other lines of spending.

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