Research Fellow Henrik Praks spoke at NATO Advanced Research Workshop titled “Lessons Learned from Small Countries Committing Troops to Operations Abroad”, which took place in Tbilisi, Georgia on October 26-27, 2015 in conjunction with the 3rd South Caucasus Security Forum.
The workshop was jointly organized by the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA) from Bratislava, Slovakia and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), with support from NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.
Henrik was among the panelists under the topic: “Developing Niche Capabilities or Plugging the Holes? Strategies of Small Countries Participating in NATO Contingents Abroad”. He introduced the evolution of Estonia´s experiences in preparing and committing troops for international operations. He stressed the need for small allies to find ways to contribute in a form which is both visible, relevant for the overall purposes of the mission and also useful for the country itself. Small countries which are located on the exposed border areas of the Alliance do not have a luxury of development of narrow niche capabilities, which are of little use in their national defence. At the same time, he concluded, core capabilities like infantry troops ready to engage in active counter-insurgency operations can suddenly become a high demand asset, as was evident during Estonia´s participation in ISAF where the country was among the limited group of nations sending its servicemen to South Afghanistan.