The Department of Defense signed a memorandum of agreement today with the Estonia Ministry of Defense, signifying expanding international relationships while serving a valuable role in security cooperation.
Estonian Ambassador Eerik Marmei and the Principal Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Defense for Reserve Affairs Richard O. Wightman Jr., who is performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, signed the Military Reserve Exchange Program (MREP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
“This memorandum of agreement between the U.S. and Estonia provides ongoing proof of our continued dedication to our NATO partners,” said Wightman. “The Military Reserve Exchange Program further strengthens the partnership between our two nations and plays a key role in the development of the Reserves and their contribution to national defense.”
The signing ceremony follows an agreement between the two nations to allow the individual reciprocal exchange of Reserve forces exhibited through the MREP. This agreement demonstrates U.S. commitment to NATO members and their militaries and provides unique multi-service/multi-component training. For the past 25 years the U.S. has conducted the MREP program with Germany, United Kingdom and most recently Denmark beginning in 2013, exchanging more than 300 personnel each year.
Estonia has a Reserve force of more than 13,000 and is anticipating exchanging cyber, Special Forces, maneuver and medical personnel with the U.S. As Estonia holds the title as the Cyber Center of Excellence for NATO, this partnership provides participants with unique training opportunities while imbedded in host nation units during annual training. MREP fosters international cooperation and creates enduring friendships with our allies while building partnership capacity.
“This agreement complements our European Command’s Theater Security Strategy and the National Guard’s State Partnership Program,” said Wightman. “By entering into these partnerships, our two nations hope to enhance the reserve component capabilities and training opportunities. This MOU opens the way to closer cooperation between the Estonian Defence League and U.S. Reserve Component force that should improve the interoperability and capabilities of the Estonian military.”
Release No: NR-047-15
February 10, 2015