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 Apr 30 2021

Multinational Division North summarizes 2020

SZCZECIN, Poland - NATO presence and visibility in the Baltic region has increased when Headquarters Multinational Division North (HQ MND-N) was activated in Latvia with additional elements being located in Denmark. As their work towards Full Operational Capability (FOC) continues, the new Headquarters will become NATO's most north-eastern division-level command. The Division's major achievements were outlined in the recent "Annual Report 2020" issued by the Estonian Defence Forces.

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Velox et Acer (Fast and Sharp), MND-N motto and crest / Photo by MND-N PAO  

At the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, the Ministers of Defence of Estonia, Denmark and Latvia signed a joint declaration of intent to establish a new divisional command. Today, the main task of Multinational Division North (MND-N) is to conduct a variety of tasks in their assigned Area of Responsibility under the command of Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast (MNCNE). The Division headquarters must be prepared to plan, coordinate and integrate activities of Allied land forces deployed in Estonia and Latvia and to provide training activities in accordance with national and NATO's defense plans.

The year 2020 was a challenging one for MND-N. The situation in the region and around the world is still complex and unprecedented. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional realities had been changing constantly throughout the past year. The Headquarters staff monitored all developments closely while seeking solutions to meet stated objectives.

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COM MND-N, MG Flemming Mathiasen (middle), and CSM MND-N Andreas Rebane (left) visiting 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade / Photo by MND-N PAO

MND-N has successfully completed all of the tasks, and they have steadfastly moved towards their main goal: Full Operational Capability (FOC) planned for 2022. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is set to be accomplished in the first half of 2021. After that, the divisional command will be formally integrated into the NATO Force Structure. They will be able to take over some of the responsibilities from MNCNE, especially those related to subordinate formations within their designated Area of Responsibility.

In peacetime, MND-N and their Command Support Battalion are scattered mainly between four locations: Ādaži in Latvia and the Danish cities of Karup, Slagelse and Federica. The Danish detachments are ready for a rapid deployment to Latvia at any time, if necessary.

HQ MND-N will have nearly 300 service members, of whom more than a hundred shall serve during peacetime. These positions are manned by both active service members and reservists. This organizational pattern is similar to the functioning of the Estonian Defense Forces, which are built upon the principle of a military reserve force. The Division headquarters and their Command Support Battalion are mainly manned by the framework countries representatives. Canada, Lithuanian, Great Britain and Spain provided their personnel, too.

In addition to their usual staff work, the Division personnel regularly assess NATO's and national defence plans in order to gain situational awareness across their Area of Responsibility. Information updated by the Division's Tactical Operations Centre are shared between Allied headquarters and national units. In 2020, MND-N expanded the use of their information systems for military purposes, which allowed them to do their work faster and more securely. Although 2020 was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, MND-N managed to increase their staff and run several internal training and study periods. 

The Division ensured their training activities had been thorough, meticulously planned and very demanding in nature. The main focus was placed on the cooperation between different staffs in order to increase the overall readiness of units. A good examples is the MND-N tactics course conducted in the online environment as part of a crisis response preparation.

Additionally, the Headquarters received new premises in Ādaži. A modern building is now part of the MND-N infrastructure. At the same time, the modernization and infrastructure projects are being carried out in both Latvia and Denmark.

Drawing on the experiences from 2020, MND-N continues to move forward towards their ultimate NATO test: Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) in late 2022. The CREVAL will be the opportunity for Multinational Division North to prove their ability to act as a warfighting division headquarters.

"The eastern flank is doing better than ever. The increased Allied presence is a strong message of NATO's strengthened deterrence and defense," says the MND-N Command Sergeant Major Andreas Rebane of the Estonian Army,

It is not anybody's personal achievement. This effort is backed by hundreds and thousands of soldiers, including our Allies, who contribute to and support our collective security every day.
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Testing of MND-N's armoured vehicles at the Oksbøl training ground in Jutland, Denmark / Photo by MND-N PAO

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

Based on the paper by CSM Andreas Rebane published in the Estonian Defense Forces' Annual Report

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