Baltic Defence College
Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) is a military vocational training establishment jointly managed by Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Founded on 25 February 1999, college located in Tartu (Estonia) provides joint military training of officers and defence officials according to standardised curriculum. Training plan is coherent with NATO methodologies and procedures to promote the best possible interoperability between Baltic armed forces and Allied troops. BALTDEFCOL aspires to meet the highest standards of education by employing military and defence professionals from Baltics and other NATO and EU countries. Multi-national education environment is one of College’s main priorities. It is achieved by, inter alia, attracting students from NATO and EU countries, as well as NATO partner countries. Language of instruction is English.
College implements the following study programmes:
• Senior Leaders’ Course: one-week course for senior officers and similar rank government civilian officials from Baltics, allied and partner countries on how to improve mutual coordination through networking and enhanced operational skills of top-level executives. This annual course is delivered in all Baltic countries on rotational basis.
• Higher Command Studies Course: 5-month annual training. Main focus of this training is operational skills of officers and enhanced understanding of geopolitical processes in the region and the world. The aim of the course is to train lead officers and civil servants for service and employment at operational and strategic security and defence bodies.
• Joint Command and General Staff Course: 11-month annual course. Main focus of this training is skills of operational-level officers and officials. Senior officers and civil servants are trained for work for national and multinational operational command centres and defence and security bodies.
• Command Senior Enlisted Leaders’ Course: 3-month course. Course was piloted in autumn 2019. Its aim is to train command senior enlisted leaders to provide efficient advice and support to strategic command officers. Main components include decision-making skills, ability to tackle predictable, complex, politically and security-wise challenging tasks. This is an annual course.
• Civil Servants’ Course: 3-month annual course. Aim of the course is to provide government defence sector workers with essential joint operational, security and defence planning and command skills.
NATO certified courses:
• Operational Level Energy Security Course
• Strategic Communications Course
European Security and Defence College (ESDC) certified course:
• Cyber Defence Policy Course
College’s main objective is to support attainment of various national goals of Baltic countries, including development of skills and competencies of delegated personnel, and integrate specific issues like limited resources and unique geographical location of Baltic countries in its study programmes. One of continuous priorities of College is attracting of foreign students from allied countries by offering region-specific study programmes (with focus on Russia).
College also contributes to various academic developments by taking part in applied research initiatives and regularly hosting international conferences, workshops and lectures focusing on military policies where experts exchange views on current priorities in the Baltics and wider international scale.
College is currently developing new future or long-term perspective. BALTDEFCOL is preparing for certification and institutional accreditation of NATO programmes. It continues to put main emphasis on multinational study environment and attracting of students and professors from NATO’s allied and partner countries.
Latvia continues to support training of Georgian and Ukrainian officers at the BALTDEFCOL in scope of Eastern Partnership programme, as well as facilitating Kosovo’s participation, which given the geopolitical importance of European perspective and EU integration of Western Balkan countries is crucial for building ever-broader area for peace and growth in Europe.
Change of command at BALTDEFCOL happens every three years. Each Baltic country takes command of the College on rotational basis, appointing one of its national armed force officers. BALTDEFCOL’s current commandant is Estonian Brig Gen Ilmar Tamm who replaced Latvian Maj Gen Andis Danilāns on 19 June 2020.