U.S.A. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld thanked Estonia for participating in the Iraqi and Afghan operations at a meeting with visiting Estonian Defense Minister Jurgen Ligi on Oct. 31. Rumsfeld highlighted the considerable growth of Estonia's defense spending which he said is an imperative measure to develop the country's defense capabilities. He also said he appreciates Estonia's contribution to NATO's strategic air transport solution. The ministers agreed that, In the context of NATO transformation it is essential for Estonia to develop and increase the capabilities of its defense forces and build up the capacity to rapidly reach international crisis areas. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss key defense questions and preparations for NATO's upcoming summit in the Riga. The ministers also talked about several cooperation projects such as a cyber protection center to be set up in Estonia and the Baltic Defense College based in Estonia's second-largest city Tartu, they also spoke about defense-related development cooperation.