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Baltic Defence Study Trip

From 23th to 28th of September the Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) is conducting the Baltic Defence Study Trip (BDST). BDST takes JCGSC to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in order to familiarise the students with the instruments of the state policy in their pursuit of internal security and external political objectives. By meeting national high-ranking civil servants and military officials, the JCGSC students will deepen their knowledge of the national defence policies and security strategies. They will also be introduced to the regional, cultural and historical aspects of all three countries.

On 24th of September, the students and faculty of the Baltic Defence College visited the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Vilnius, Lithuania for a series of informational briefings from various MoD officials. During the briefings, JCGSC students engaged with MoD department heads on topics such as co-operation with NATO, EU, and other strategic partners; Lithuanian defence policy and planning; capability development; and energy security. Wrapping up the day, the students and faculty had a tour of the Old Town and other cultural appreciation events, including a dinner reception hosted by BG Zenkevicius of the Lithuanian Training and Doctrine Command.

After being hosted by the Latvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a great dinner on the evening of the 25th of September; the JCGSC students had the privilege of visiting the Latvian MoD on 26th of September, where several high officials within the MoD took time out of their busy schedule to provide riveting and highly informational briefings. The topics included Latvia’s confidence in NATO integration and Host Nation Support to counterbalance the main threats coming mainly from Russia’s unpredictable behaviour and recent aggressions such as with Georgia and Ukraine. A very interesting and innovative notion discussed during the day was their “comprehensive defence” concept. In a presentation provided by a Canadian representative the students discovered the composition and role of Latvia within NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU). It was particularly interesting to learn, among other accomplishments, the crucial role of the NFIU in facilitating the agreement that eased the crossing of borders for NATO forces. The day ended with a very interactive presentation provided by the Strategic Communication (STRATCOM) Centre of Excellence representative. He had extremely powerful messages on the use of Medias and what is being done to track and counter negative messages. Overall the students had a very productive day and are ready for the next step of the Baltic Defence Study Trip.

  
Photos by: Armīns Janiks 

The JCGSC paid a visit to the Ādaži Military Base near Riga on 27th of September. The students and faculty members had the privilege to directly engage with Colonel Ilmars Atis Lejins the Commander of Latvian Land Forces. Received briefings and guided tour through military facilities gave JCGSC an understanding of the current and near future developments of the Latvian armed forces and enhanced awareness in terms of the role of NATO deployed multinational battle group led by Canada. In addition, the students learned that in the near future there is an intent to establish the headquarters of NATO Multinational Division North at Ādaži Military Base.

  

28th of September marks the final of JCGSC Baltic Defence Study Trip. The students and faculty ended their trip at the naval base of Estonia in Tallinn, where the surroundings were perfect for any joint higher level officer. JCGSC had the pleasure of being briefed by very distinguished speakers; the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces and Commander of Estonian Defence League.

At the conclusion of the study trip, students will summarize the similarities and differences between the nations’ security environments, strategies, and interests in order to gain a stronger understanding of how and why security strategies are formed.

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