Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 40

The Baltic Defense College (BALTDEFCOL), a Western-supported institution of the three Baltic states, officially opened its doors yesterday in Tartu, Estonia to a speech by the host country’s president, Lennart Meri. Senior defense officials from most NATO and Nordic countries attended the ceremony. Those countries are financing the college for its first five years. BALTDEFCOL is intended to provide advanced training to the Baltic countries’ staff officers, civilian officials holding posts in the defense establishments and representatives to international military staffs.

The primary language of instruction at the college is English, the first commandant is Brigadier-General Michael Clemmesen of Denmark and the faculty consists of officers from twelve NATO and Nordic countries. The decision to establish BALTDEFCOL was officially made in 1997, and a detailed agreement on the project was signed by the three Baltic defense ministers in 1998 at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The military college is one of the four major defense projects–alongside the joint battalion BALTBAT, naval squadron BALTRON and airspace surveillance system BALTNET–collectively undertaken by the Baltic states as aspiring members of NATO (BNS, February 25).