Latvian Defense Minister Pabriks said during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels that Latvia wanted to build a NATO center of excellence (COE) for strategic communication.
"The Alliance should improve communication with the public regarding both its military operations and the political decisions it has made. The purpose of this COE will be to carry out analysis and research about the communication trends, to compile the knowledge and best practices of the allies to achieve common understanding and increased efficiency,” Pabriks said.
The Latvian Defense Ministry pointed out that public understanding about NATO and its operations was vital for successful functioning of the alliance. The Baltic colleagues have voiced support to Latvia’s proposal during informal talks, and the Latvian defense minster hopes that other allies will also support the idea and participate in organization of Strategic Communication COE.
So far Latvia has participated in the work of several NATO COEs – Energy Security COE in Lithuania, Cooperative Cyber Defence COE in Estonia and Civil-Military Cooperation COE in the Netherlands.
Pabriks said that Latvia supported the proposals for NATO common funding calling for use of this funding also on training, education, joint exercises, strengthening of the NATO Response Force etc.
The Latvian defense minister also welcomed the Connected Forces Initiative that would increase cooperation among the NATO member states, expanding education and training opportunities and allowing for more intensive use of the available technologies. Joint exercises is an important part of this initiative, said Pabriks, inviting the member states to take active part in the NATO exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 to be organized in several countries, including Latvia.
In Brussels the Baltic defense ministers had a meeting with Polish Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak to discuss preparations for Steadfast Jazz 2013 and proposals for further cooperation in defense planning.
Pabriks also had bilateral talks with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. They discussed Georgia’s integration in NATO, and the Latvian defense ministry offered training for Georgian militaries in the diving school and the bomb disposal school in Latvia.
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