The way NATO controls the armed forces of the Baltics

In accordance with mass media resources, the headquarters of the international division “North” (HQ MND N) has begun to work lately at the Ādaži military base near Riga (Latvia). This divisional HQ includes combat units of Latvia, Denmark and Estonia. The need to create a new unit was first talked about at the NATO summit in Brussels last July. It is assumed that the Riga headquarters will facilitate the coordination of NATO forces in the Baltic States.

There are a lot of reports saying that a new NATO headquarters has appeared in Ādaži. But in fact all of them turned out to be somewhat premature – HQ MND N hasn’t been included in the structure of the Alliance. In order to become a part of the NATO military command and control bodies, all member states of the Alliance must approve this decision. Such an opportunity will be presented at the next meeting of the Alliance Defense Ministers, scheduled for June.

However, considering the enthusiasm of the Baltic countries and their Western partners during the implementation of this project, there will be no problems with such an approval. At the same time, the difficult economic situation and social crisis in the country do not bother the Latvian authorities. From their point of view, it is not a sufficient reason to reduce the endless military spending. Thus, over the next three years, the government intends to spend at least 200 million euros on the development of military infrastructure – 30 million will be spend on the reconstruction of the Ādaži facilities.

Officially, the mission of Ādaži HQ MND N is to enhance the defence capabilities of the Baltic States, as well as contribute to NATO’s collective deterrence and defence efforts through the command element based in the Baltics. HQ is tasked with defence planning, military training, planning and coordination of common projects. It will promote the compatibility of forces from participating countries and their interoperability in scope of common defence initiatives.

It sounds nice, but in fact the headquarters at the Ādaži will plan and lead all operations directly. A similar situation was with the Lithuanian Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf” – the Lithuanians wanted to manage its actions jointly. However, Denmark controlled this brigade, which was reassigned to the Bundeswehr in 2018. Transferring control over their military units is a typical scheme for the Baltic States. Similarly, they will be subordinate not to the local ministries of defence, but to the higher NATO headquarters.

The appearance of the HQ MND N testifies that the Baltic region is preparing for a noticeable increase of NATO contingent presence. And it needs to ensure quality management, apparently, without the participation of national headquarters. They are simply not allowed to make decisions. Perhaps, the division “North” is created for this purpose.

It is obvious that the national armed forces of the Baltic countries – executors of dirty work for NATO. They will be thrown into battle and no one cares about them.

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