National Armed Forces (Latvian language: Nacionālie Bruņotie Spēki (NAF) ) are the unified armed forces of the Republic of Latvia. Latvia's defense concept is based upon a rapid response force composed of a mobilization base and a small group of career professionals. The National Armed Forces consists of Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Force, National Guard and others. Latvia has switched to a professional army, the last draft was in 2005. From January 1, 2007, the Latvian army is fully contract-based.[Clarification needed]
The mission of the National Armed Forces (NAF) is to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation and to defend its population against aggression. In order to implement these tasks, the NAF provide for the defense of the nation, its air space and national territorial waters, participate in large scale crisis response operations, perform emergency rescue operations, and participate in international peacekeeping operations.
The main mission of the National Armed Forces is to:
- Provide for the inviolability of all national territory, its waters and air space;
- Participate in international operations;
- Participate in national threat elimination;
- Provide for the training of personnel and military reserves.
- Ensure modernization and enhancement of professional combat training;
National Armed Forces consist of:
- NAF Joint Headquarters
- NAF Commander’s Personal Staff
- Land Forces
- Naval Forces
- Air Force
- National Guard
- Special Tasks Unit
- Military Police
- NAF Staff Battalion
- Training and Doctrine Command
- Logistics Command
The Security Service of Parliament and State President was a part of the National Armed Forces until its merger with the Military Police in 2009.
There are 4,763 active duty personnel in the NAF. There are 971 soldiers in the Latvian Land Forces, 552 in the Latvian Naval Forces, 251 in the Latvian Air Force with the balance in the other commands. There are 10,642 voluntary national guardsmen with 1,284 officers and 1,945 non-commissioned officers in the Latvian National Guard. There are 1,288 civil employees serving in the NAF.
Along with providing for national defense, the NAF will also react immediately to threats to other allies and to international crises.
Latvia cooperates with Estonia and Lithuania in the joint infantry battalion BALTBAT and naval squadron BALTRON which are available for peacekeeping operations.
Currently, NATO is involved in the patrolling and protection of the Latvian air space as the Latvian military does not have the means to do so. For this goal a rotating force of four NATO fighters, which comes from different nations and switches at two or three month intervals, is based in Lithuania to cover all three Baltic states (see Baltic Air Policing).
After joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Latvia has undertaken obligations to strengthen common defense within the scope of its capabilities. For this purpose, every NATO member state delegates its military formations — fast response, well-armed and well-equipped units capable to operate beyond the NATO’s borders.
After joining NATO, the foundation of the Latvian defense system has shifted from total territorial defense to collective defense. Latvia has acquired small but highly professional troops that have been fully integrated into NATO structures. NAF soldiers have participated in international operations since 1996. Specialized units (e.g. units of military medics, military police, unexploded ordenance neutralizers, military divers and special forces) have been established in order to facilitate and enhance NAF participation in international operations. Special attention has been paid to establishing a unit to deal with the identification and clearance of nuclear pollution. The successful participation of Latvian soldiers in international exercises, operations and missions demonstrates that their professional skills already comply with the performance requirements set by the Alliance.
- Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia
- Mission of Latvia to NATO
- kamouflage.net > Europe > Latvia (Republic of Latvia) > index
- Stefan Marx, "The Latvian Defence System", Jane's Intelligence Review, December 1993, p. 557–559
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