July 12, 2018

The ministers of defense of Estonia, Latvia and Denmark signed a letter of intent at the NATO summit on Wednesday on the establishment of the headquarters of NATO Multinational Division North, informed LETA/BNS.

Aside from the three framework nations, the letter of intent was signed also by the ministers of defense of contributing nations Canada, the U.K. and Lithuania, spokespeople for the Estonian Defense Ministry said.

“This is a natural development in strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defense,” Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik said. “Where at the Wales summit the allies decided on the establishment of NATO command elements, and in Warsaw on bringing allied battle groups to the Baltic countries and Poland, now we can talk about a comprehensive military command which focuses on Latvia and Estonia.”

The size of the headquarters of Multinational Division North and its support element will be approximately 300 personnel. The division headquarters will be subjected to the command of Multinational Corps Northeast located in Szczecin, Poland. The headquarters will start work in September, achieve initial operational capability in the first half of next year, and full operational capability in mid-2020.

The command will be located simultaneously in Adazi, Latvia, and in Denmark, with the latter to be ready for a rapid transfer.

The division headquarters will be tasked with having a continuous operational overview of the developments in the region, commanding the brigades subordinated to it, coordinating, planning and synchronizing training exercises and operations with different authorities and neighboring units. It will be also tasked with conducting the training of the units subordinated to it and ensuring comprehensive support for them.

The longer-term goal is for all the framework nations of the allied battle groups stationed in the Baltic countries and Poland to make a contribution to the headquarters.

“The Baltic Sea region is one of the most vulnerable regions of NATO at present and it is important for the command structure of the alliance to correspond to real threats and for NATO to be able to lead large-scale operations in collective defense if necessary,” the Estonian minister said.

A division is usually made up of 2-4 brigade sized units and different support units. In the military sphere, the next command level after division is corps.