23 Feb 2015
|MONS, Belgium - Soldiers of the Dutch 43
Mechanised Brigade are training with their Estonian Infantry
counterparts in tough winter conditions during Exercise Baltic Bison
from 9-26 February 2015. Exercise Baltic Bison is part of NATO’s
Assurance Measures in the region and is focused on international
cooperation and knowledge sharing between the two NATO members.
"NATO’s assurance measures, including the Netherlands’ effort during operation Baltic Bison, is proof that NATO commitments are working in a proper way and in practice,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Aron Kalmus, Commander of the Estonian First Infantry Brigade. "I am more than glad, as an Estonian officer and as an Estonian citizen, that our Dutch colleagues amongst other NATO Allies have proved this by coming here in these difficult times in Eastern Europe.”
On 9 December 2014, the Dutch Minister of Defence, Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and her Estonian colleague Sven Mikser, signed a contract for the purchase of 44 Dutch CV-90 Combat Infantry Vehicles by Estonia. Exercise Baltic Bison provides the opportunity to introduce the tracked vehicle to the Estonian soldiers.
The Estonians will be trained on the various characteristics of this vehicle, such as mobility, firepower and protection, during the two week period. A lot of time will be spent on learning and recognizing each other’s procedures, so that close cooperation is guaranteed now and in the future.
NATO is continuing with its assurance measures such as increased exercises, enhanced air policing and maritime patrolling. The Alliance is also working hard to implement decisions from the Wales summit, including the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), establishing reception bases for command and control, looking at the pre-positioning of supplies and equipment, possible improvements to national infrastructure, and the enhancing of the NATO Response Force.
Story by the Dutch Ministry of Defence and SHAPE Public Affairs Office