Field Study 3 visit to Estonia for Senior Course 140
From 11 to 13 June 2022, Senior Course 140 visited Estonia as the third stop on Field Study 3. Course Members were able to gain a better cultural understanding of the region and attended briefings about Estonian defence.
Field Study trips as part of the flagship course of the College are paramount to gain a better understanding of capitals’ positions with information received from first-hand sources, but also to improve cross-cultural competencies and ensure continuous interaction among Course Members.
During their stay in Tallinn, Senior Course Members had the opportunity to visit the historical centre of the Estonian capital, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site since 1997, which gave them an invaluable insight into the culture of the country and of the region. It was also a great opportunity for team-building.
On Monday 13 June, the NDC delegation travelled to the Cyber Security Exercises and Training Centre (CR14), where briefings took place throughout the morning and early afternoon. Before that, NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, had an office call with the Chief of Staff of the Estonian Defence Forces, Brigadier General Enno Mõts.
The first briefing of the day was a presentation on the Estonian Defence Forces and regional security, delivered by Lieutenant Colonel Peeter Kõiv. He described the evolution of the Defence Forces and the historical factors that have shaped their mindset. He also outlined their mission, organization, budget, and capabilities.
Ms Tuuli Duneton, Undersecretary for Defence Policy at the Ministry of Defence, then talked about Estonia’s national security and defence policy. She presented their National Security Concept and its core principles. Regarding Estonia’s international relations, she spoke about the country’s participation in the European Union and NATO, as a member of both organizations since 2004. There was also time for the regional security approach, which focused on Russia and the aid that Estonia has been providing in Ukraine.
The National Defence Committee of the Estonian Parliament was also amongst the briefers, represented by Mr Leo Kunnas, its Deputy Chairman. He described their role and tasks as a Committee, their partnerships with other committees internationally and the topics and activities they cover.
The last brief of the day was dedicated to the Estonian defence industry and was delivered by the CEO of the Estonian Defence Industry Association, Mr Tarmo Ränisoo. In his presentation, he described the structure and workings of the defence industry in Estonia, as well as its main capability developments. All briefings were followed by Q&A sessions. The closing remarks were delivered by Course Members from Committee 8.
The trip to Estonia not only improved Course Members’ knowledge of the region but also provided a platform for networking and building interoperability, a key element for participants to get a deeper sense of how best to work together.