A new special operations site that will allow elite U.S. troops to expand operations in the Baltic region is up and running in the Latvian capital of Riga. The U.S. contributed $3.7 million to the project through the European Deterrence Initiative, the Pentagon program that funds efforts aimed at preventing Russian aggression on NATO’s eastern flank. U.S. Embassy officials in Latvia and Latvian military leaders officially opened a new special operations site, which will be used by U.S. forces, in the Baltic country’s capital, Riga, in late November 2020.
The new base officially opened last week during a ceremony attended by U.S. diplomats and Latvian military leaders. It includes a vehicle servicing facility, ammunition storage and two helipads for U.S. CV-22 aircraft from the United Kingdom-based 352nd Special Operations Wing. The assets are designed to allow special operations forces to move rapidly in and out of the area and conduct maintenance. Another project nearing completion in Latvia is a facility that will increase the amount of gear and personnel that can move into the Baltic state for exercises, or in response to a crisis.
Shortly after regaining of the independence of Latvia, development of the Latvian defence system was launched and collaboration with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was initiated. When reacting to the new security environment and the geo-political situation, on 20 December 1991, NATO founded the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) to collaborate with potential partners. Latvia also participated in the NACC foundation session, thus becoming a Member State of the forum.
The arrival of the multinational Allied battlegroup in Latvia in June 2017 concluded the deployment of forces under NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland, thereby implementing the decisions made at the Wales and Warsaw Summits. Canada is the framework nation for the battalion-size NATO battlegroup deployed to Latvia, with Albania, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain as contributing nations. These Allies are sending, on a voluntary and rotational basis, their troops and combat-ready equipment to Latvia to deter any possible aggression, should the need arise.