Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Hard History of the Baltic Republics: Latvia Wakes Up

Scale. Always important to keep in mind scale.

The Latvians just completed a very big exercise, Namejs 2018. This isn't just any exercise - no, this is an informed exercise based on modern, real-world threats. You really don't have to read between the lines.
"There will be a lot of movement throughout Latvia... there will be tasks too for both the navy and the air force and, of course, the State Police will carry out their tasks that are necessary for their training. There will be loud noises. We apologize and alert the public to this fact," said Chief of Defense Leonīds Kalniņš at a pre-drill media briefing August 2.

Live ammunition will not be used outside established military zones, but the training will be very realistic, Kalniņš said, acknowledging that Russia's hybrid operations in eastern Ukraine had been taken into account when devising the scenarios.

However, he also stressed that the drills are defensive in nature and not directed against any outside country.
25% of the Latvian population is ethnically Russian.
One of the several scenarios that will be played out during Namejs 2018 provides for suppressing spontaneous riots in Jekabpils and Valmiera. The unrest would be fomented by armed people without military insignia. Law enforcement authorities would be the first to respond to these events, with the armed forces expected to rush to help quell the riots.

“During the exercise we will be training to defend our state using obstruction and defense operations. All brigades will be involved in relocation and ensuring the local defense of particular cities. The national defense structure will be tested one hundred percent. We will not be devising a scenario against a particular country as we are preparing the National Armed Forces to defend Latvia against any threat,” Lt. Gen. Kalnins said.
- Population of Latvia: 1.9 million.
- Exercise Namejs 2018: 10,000 participants from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, USA, Canada, Albania, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain.

How big was the exercise presence for the Latvian population? Well, let's upscale that for 'ya.
- Population of USA: 320 million
- Upscaled Nanejs 2018: 1,684,210

Imagine if we held a military exercise that mobilized 1,684,210 military personnel from a dozen nations from Maine to Hawaii, Florida to Alaska. One military person in an active exercise per 190 citizens from infant to petitioner.

Latvia is serious. They are moving as aggressively as possible to match their Estonian neighbors with 2%+ GDP in military spending.

Speaking of which, though this is about the Estonian War of Independence after WWI, this covers some of the Latvian play as well. Solid video worth your time.

PS: If we meet IRL, ask me about the Latvian Air Force guy I served with in AFG. Good story.

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