TALLINN – The commander of the US National Guard, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, visited Estonia from Tuesday to Thursday to find ways to expand cooperation with the Estonian defense forces and to get additional information for the planning of joint activities.
Deputy commander of the Estonian defense forces Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm said that the Estonian defense forces and the US National Guard are bound by long-term and effective cooperation.
"During the meeting, we were able to discuss how to raise cooperation to a new level by further developing relations between the defense forces and the National Guard," Palm said according to spokespeople on Thursday.
Palm met with Hokanson on Wednesday at the national defense headquarters in Tallinn, where the chief of the US National Guard was briefed on the security situation in the region and the prospects for the development of the Estonian defense forces. Lt. Col. Rene Innos, deputy commander of the Cyber Command, presented to the guest the Cyber Command. In addition, the chief of the US National Guard visited the air operations command center.
Hokanson also had meetings with Lauri Abel, deputy secretary general for defense readiness at the Ministry of Defense, and Brig. Gen. Riho Uhteg, commander of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps, who provided an overview of the Kaitseliit's activities and plans.
During his visit to Europe, the commander of the US National Guard will visit various countries in the region to identify opportunities to expand cooperation and to gather further information for the planning of joint activities. In Estonia, the interest of the chief of the US National Guard focused on the cyber capabilities of the defense forces, the reservist system and the contribution of the Kaitseliit to national defense.
Estonia cooperates most closely and directly with the Maryland National Guard. The cooperation between the Estonian defense forces, the Kaitseliit and the Maryland National Guard began after the re-establishment of the Estonian defense forces in 1993. The National Guard has organized training for Estonian military personnel and Kaitseliit volunteers in the United States and contributed to strengthening the Kaitseliit as a voluntary national defense organization.
The Maryland National Guard has also trained helicopter pilots participating in international missions of the Estonian defense forces.