Higher Command Studies Course Baltic Defence Study Trip

From 30th May to 3rd June 2022, the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) conducted the Baltic Defence Study Trip (BDST).

BDST allowed the students to visit Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to discuss security matters, deterrence posture and recognize challenges as well as their regional cooperation potential. Moreover, to be updated about resilience and resistance related planning and practical solutions. By meeting national security, defence, and communication planners and experts, participants had the opportunity to discuss together the significance and utility of new knowledge for solving the research task.

On the first two days, the students and faculty members visited the Estonian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Tallinn for a series of informational briefings from various MoD officials and Estonian Authorities. The students engaged with high-level representatives such as Mr Mikk Marran, the Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service and Ambassador Jonatan Vseviov, the Secretary General of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who briefed the HCSC. During the briefings topics such as co-operation with NATO, EU, and other strategic partners and Estonian defence policy and planning were discussed. Any study trip will not pass without cultural activities. The BDST delegation had a guided tour in Tallinn Old Town exploring and discovering over 800 years of history of Tallinn.

On the 1st of June, the students had the privilege of visiting the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence. During the briefings, the department heads of MoD informed the audience about such topics as co-operation within NATO, EU, and other strategic partners; Lithuanian defence policy and planning; and cyber and information security. After the enjoyed lunch hosted by Dr Arvydas Anušauskas, the Minister of National Defence continued by visiting the Lithuanian Presidential Palace. It created an opportunity to meet with Mr Tomas Godliauskas, the Adviser to the President to discuss the national security aspects. Finally, the discussions on military capability development took place in the Lithuanian Defence Staff.

For the next stage of BDST, the students arrived in Latvia, where Dr. Artis Pabriks, Deputy Prime Minister/ Minister of Defence of Latvia welcomed the HSCS participants (photos below by Latvian Mod).

It was followed by several engagements with MoD department heads covering such topics such policy planning and crisis management. Afterwards, LTG Raimonds Graube, former Commander of Latvian National Armed Forces met with students during the hosted lunch. The Latvian leg of the BDST ended with an interactive presentation provided by a speaker from the NATO Strategic Communication (STRATCOM) Centre of Excellence.
The last day was dedicated to the Latvian highest national representatives. In the morning, the students visited the Rīga Castle (President’s Palace) and had a meeting with Mr Jānis Kažociņš, National Security Adviser to the President of Latvia, Secretary of the National Security Council.

This Baltic Defence Study Trip supports the learning objectives of the course through interaction with practitioners involved in defence security and strategy development and implementation, as well as allows for the first-hand experience with the defence management challenges that the Baltic states face. It reinforces the learning objectives of the HCSC as it includes discussions on trends in the security environment and Russia through professional discussions related to deterrence requirements and challenges.

The Baltic Defence College is extremely grateful to all the experts, officials, and high-level representatives for dedicating their time and sharing their knowledge with our students.


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