On Thursday, December 2nd, the Atlantic Council’s International Security Program hosted Estonia’s Minister of Defense, Jaak Aaviksoo, for a strategy session on NATO after Lisbon and the way ahead for the recently adopted Strategic Concept. Between various engagements throughout Washington, Minister Aaviksoo met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General Keith Alexander, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command.  Minister Aaviksoo’s visit to the Atlantic Council, however, was an opportunity for the Minister to receive expert opinions from the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Advisors Group (SAG) members on Washington’s NATO priorities, a key aspect of the International Security Program’s series of off-the-record strategy sessions with U.S. and international military and political officials.   In this candid exchange, the Council received an Estonian perspective on NATO, the Strategic Concept, and the way ahead.  Estonia has taken an active approach to its NATO membership. The country currently hosts NATO’s Center of Excellence for cyber defense.  Since 2003, Estonia has also taken part in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) and currently has nearly 150 troops in Afghanistan, located mainly in the southern province of Helmand.  Measured by population, Estonia has sustained one of the highest casualty rates of any NATO ally in Afghanistan. 

This strategy session is a joint effort by the Council’s Strategic Advisors Group and the Council’s recently established Transatlantic Initiative on Nordic-Baltic Security.  The latter seeks to assess strategic issues in the region, while at the same time formulating relevant policy advice on how the Nordic-Baltic region can play a larger role in transatlantic and global security.