Kathryn L. Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, and Kadi Silde, Estonia's undersecretary for defense policy, signed the document that will continue defense cooperation between the two countries through 2024.
Estonia joins Lithuania and Latvia in the five-year defense cooperation agreement between the Defense Department and the Baltic states.
The foundation for strong allied relations between Estonia and the United States has been long-term and multifaceted cooperation. The agreement confirms the continuation of the cooperation and mapping future directions for work, officials said.
During the next five years, the plan will focus on the more systematic development of bilateral security cooperation and achieving the objectives set forth in the national defense development plan, one of the basic documents for planning Estonia's national defense capability.
Areas of cooperation between Estonia and the United States include capability development and defense-related aid, training exercises, cyber defense, the Estonian Defense League, training areas and host nation support, officials said.
Estonia uses defense-related aid from the United States as an accelerator for defense investments to develop Estonia's independent defense capability and concluding possible joint procurements with other Baltic republics.
At the core of cyber defense cooperation is training, information exchange, planning and capability development — with the goal to improve the countries' capability to cope with the opponents' cyberattack operations.
Broad-based national defense principles are adhered to within the cooperation plan when it comes to dealing with security problems, and cooperation with the police and border guard board, in addition to defense forces and defense league.
Cooperation in the specified fields increases defense cooperation between Estonia and the United States, improves Estonia's independent defense capability and contributes to strengthening NATO's deterrence and defense posture on NATO's eastern wing, officials said, adding that specific activities for implementing defense cooperation between Estonia and the United States will be agreed upon at future bilateral meetings.