NATO «Force Integration Unit» fully up to speed

Latvia's defense chief, General Raimonds Graube on Monday was due to sign documents confirming that NATO's new 'Force Integration Center' in the Latvian capital, Riga - a logistics and infrastructure support unit - is fully operational.  

The ceremony takes place as NATO's major 'Saber Strike' military exercises get into top gear.

As reported by Latvian armed forces news portal, from June 11 until June 21 the Saber Strike field training exercise part will be conducted in three Baltic States, including Latvia, where more than 2,100 soldiers from the United States, Latvia, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Norway and Poland will participate.

Soldiers will train for attack and defense operations at battalion level, integrating with combat support and close air support.

In total more than 10,000 soldiers from the United States, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Norway, Slovakia, Finland and Germany will participate in Saber Strike 2016 across all three Baltic States simultaneously.

Evaluation of the new Force Integration Unit center - which officials are keen to stress is not a new 'base' - took place June 6-8 after which it was certified as being "fully ready to implement its given tasks" in providing support to allied forces placed in Latvia. 

It is expected that long-term deployments of troops from Latvia's NATO allied countries will be announced at the Warsaw summit in three weeks' time, which should give new importance to the Force Integration Unit's role. 

However, Latvia's armed forces have no time to rest on their laurels with plenty more work required to upgrade the country's infrastructure. Among the next tasks is the construction of a new storage depot at Vainode, with building work beginning on June 11 and featuring in the LTV report below.


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