On December 12 Ministry of National Defence and the Atlantic Council think-tank collaboratively brought together air defence experts and security and defence policy shapers in an international conference in Vilnius to address the prospects of strengthening air defence in the Baltics.
“Air defence remains the weak spot in the defence of the north-eastern NATO flank. Despite our national efforts, it requires regional approach and allied engagement in creating an integrated air defence architecture. The U.S. leadership plays a key in it,” Minister of National Defence R.Karoblis said in his address opening the Conference on Defending Airspace: Air Capabilities and Air Defence in North-Eastern Europe.
At the conference military experts, policy makers and analysts from the U.S., Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, U.S. European Command discussed the present airpower balance in North-Eastern Europe, ways of strengthening regional and NATO capabilities in the area, and identified possible ways of creating an integrated regional air defence.
The Conference was held on the basis of an agreement of cooperation “Strengthening Security and Fight against Conventional and Hybrid Threats in North-Eastern Europe” signed by the Atlantic Council and the MoD in 2017. U.S. defence experts and high representatives of security and defence sector have already conducted a visit in Lithuania on the basis of the agreement this year. The y met with Minister R.Karoblis, representatives of the National Defence System, commanders of the NATO eFP forces, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Security Department.
In April a table-top exercise in Lithuania pulled together Lithuania’s main decision-shapers and makers, U.S. defence experts and Lithuanian security experts. In early February a Conference On the Frontline: The Future of Defense and Deterrence in Europe was held in Washington and attended by Minister R.Karoblis, Defence Ministers of Latvia and Estonia, influential members of the U.S. Administration, Pentagon, State Department, Congress, U.S. security and defence policy shapers and decisions-makers.
The Atlantic Council will also make a publication containing recommendations on strengthening the air defence architecture and capabilities in the Baltic Sea region based on the discussions in Vilnius.