Higher Command Studies Course 2021 Baltic Defence Study Trip

 

Between the 31st of May and 5th of June 2021, the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) conducted the Baltic Defence Study Trip (BDST) in hybrid mode to meet with security and defence representatives from the Baltic States. The trip aimed to support the learning outcomes of multiple modules through engagements with various practitioners of the foreign, security and defence policy and planning.

On Monday, 31st of May, the Course visited Latvia online and met with the State President Chancery, Foreign and Defence Ministries, and National Armed Forces representatives. Students acquired information and discussed topics related to regional security, contemporary and future threats, and Latvia's foreign and defence policies. Moreover, the State Defence concept, the comprehensive defence principles, and capability development efforts were presented by the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces representatives. HCSC also learned about the mission and tasks of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence located in Riga.

The next day, the 1st of June, HCSC met again online the Lithuanian representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and Defence Staff of the Armed Forces. A thorough assessment of the military threat in the Baltic Sea region was delivered by experts to students, followed by a discussion on the Lithuanian defence policy and the total defence concept. Cyber and informational security have attracted broad interest due to their actuality in the present environment. The day was concluded with the presentation on the military capability development in the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

On the 2nd of June, HCSC students along with the Course Director and Senior Mentor travelled to Tallinn to prepare for a meeting with Estonian security and defence representatives. The following day, the students met the Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence to learn about its mission, tasks and activities. Afterwards, the Estonian Ministry of Defence representative provided the update of the national defence development process and current plans. The afternoon session followed with the engagement with the Secretary General of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss foreign policy objectives, challenges and achievements. The day was concluded by the collective visit to the Seaplane Harbour Museum in the Kalamaja district.

The HCSC continued its study tour on Friday with meetings with the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service and International Centre for Defence and Security to learn about their role, assessments and activities in their areas of responsibility. Later, the HCSC learned about the Estonian Defence policy from the representative of the Ministry of Defence. This briefing provided students with the opportunity to compare and assess the policies of all three Baltic States. The last day of the BDST was marked by meetings with the representative of the MILREM Robotics to discuss the defence industry perspective on capability development and cooperation. The briefing by the Commander of the Estonian Defence League was the concluding activity of this interesting academic event allowing acquiring information on the Kaitseliit and comprehensive Estonian approach to defence. The opportunity to conduct the Baltic Defence Study Trip in the blended learning mode was an occasion to receive knowledge and allowed direct interaction with speakers facilitating interactive discussions.

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