The United States fosters a robust and enduring security partnership with the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Since 2016, we convened the U.S.-Baltic Dialogue to broaden and deepen our range of security cooperation activities and address Baltic-wide security gaps. Security assistance programs like Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) enhanced territorial defense capabilities and promoted interoperability with the United States and NATO.
Since the beginning of FY 2015, the Baltic states have purchased approximately $503.9 million worth of U.S-origin defense articles and services to under the Foreign Military Sales program, financed with a combination of partner national funds and FMF through the Department of State.
Since January 2015, the United States authorized more than $346.3 million in additional U.S.-origin defense articles to the Baltic states via the Direct Commercial Sales process.
Since 2015, the United States’ FMF contribution to the Baltic states exceeded $250 million. This contribution is due in part to the resurgence of Russian aggression over the past few years. U.S. support through FMF developed defensive capabilities, such as electronic and hybrid warfare, border security, and maritime and air domain awareness. It also increased the Baltic states’ interoperability with NATO armed forces and contributes to NATO’s defense and integrated deterrence posture in the region. These three NATO Allies are among the most committed to improving and enhancing their military capabilities; Lithuania and Latvia fully meet their 2014 Wales Pledge for 2 percent defense spending as a share of GDP and 20% major equipment purchases as a share of defense spending, and Estonia is on target to reach this goal by the end of 2020.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania also each received about $1.2 million annually in IMET assistance between 2015 and 2018 and approximately $2 million in 2019 to support professional military education for approximately 150 mid-level and senior military officers at Department of Defense (DoD) schools in the United States.
Further, since 2015, DoD has notified to Congress its intent to provide $605.5 million under its Title 10 funded train and equip programs for the Baltic States. This includes approximately $125.5 million in FY 2020 funds alone. Thanks to continued strong Congressional support, such as the Baltic Security Initiative in the FY21 National Defense Appropriations Bill, DoD continues to invest in programs in the Baltics to deter Russian aggression, increase interoperability, and support modernization.
The Baltic Security Initiative includes a budget request for nearly $169 million in military aid to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for 2021, which was approved by Congress and signed into law. The budget request included $45 million for Baltic Air Defense Programs, which will invest in capabilities aligned with the Baltic countries’ own national defense plans and with US European Command and NATO plans.
In addition to BSI, the FY 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act also provided $10 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to each of the three Baltic States. DoD will continue to support programs to enhance and sustain the capabilities of the Baltic countries.
In 2017, the United States signed Defense Cooperation Agreements with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These foundational agreements established the framework for enhanced partnership and defense and security cooperation between the United States and our NATO Allies. Together with the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, these agreements provide the full necessary legal framework for U.S. forces operating in the Baltic states. In 2019, the United States signed Security Cooperation Roadmaps with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These agreements identify agreed-upon security cooperation priorities for 2019-2024.
For more than 25 years, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania collaborated with the Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania National Guard units, respectively, through the State Partnership Program, which brings together military personnel for training, education, and related activities.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.