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ISG Resident Advisors Assists in One of Estonia’s Largest Security Reforms

Posted: Dec 7, 2021
ISG's Resident Advising Team

In 2020, the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) – U.S. Department of Defense’s lead implementer for Institutional Capacity Building – deployed a Resident Advisor to Estonia to support efforts by its Ministry of Defense (MoD) to improve national Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). This effort was part of the larger bilateral security objective to ensure Estonia’s borders remain sovereign and secure through the use of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and data-sharing.

The Government of Estonia (GoE) has been working to improve its maritime capabilities over the course of many years. In June 2021, the GoE formed a new inter-ministerial Maritime Security Working Group to implement a merger of the Police and Border Guard Board fleet with the Navy. The GoE specifically requested the MoD to include ISG’s Resident Advisor in the process so as to provide technical assistance and advice at the national level. Estonia’s MoD employed this total team approach to study the issues and form recommendations to include the consolidation of Estonia's various maritime fleet capabilities. This merger was envisioned to enable Estonia’s MDA operations and to improve its ability to gather and analyze information necessary for planning a rapid maritime response to emergent threats.

In November 2021, the Government of Estonia agreed to merge the Police and Border Guard Board – nested within the Ministry of Interior – and the Defense Forces Fleets. Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet heralded this change as “the biggest state reform in the near future.” The integration of these two bodies is intended to increase Estonia’s security, and as Laanet emphasized, Estonia’s readiness “to intervene in case of danger.” It also creates “the preconditions for the Allies to respond to the conflicts in the region.” This development is seen as a great step forward for the Government of Estonia. It also demonstrates how the deployment of Resident Advisors can be a powerful tool within the Security Cooperation toolbox, helping Partners develop institutional capacity to achieve shared security goals.

ISG Resident Advisors, also known as Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDAs), work with international partners to improve management and efficiency of defense institutions. A trained and deployed Resident Advisor is a subject matter expert who enables enduring, local solutions that build partner institutional capacity. Finding tailored solutions to local problems is the primary objective of any resident advisor serving in a partner nation. To learn more about these positions and how to apply, check out ISG Resident Advising primer as well as these current openings.