Kaack noted that the staff intended for the purpose were already in charge of the “Northern Coasts” naval manoeuvres, a major training exercise involving 3,000 personnel from 14 NATO countries starting in the coming week.
“There is currently a letter from the general inspector with the deputy of NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, in which we make clear that we are able to offer the capability to set up a regional headquarters for the Baltic Sea,” Kaack, who serves as inspector of the German navy and reports directly to the minister of defence, told dpa in Berlin.
NATO has beefed up its forces along the alliance’s eastern flank and the Baltic region following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Baltic Sea forms a major conduit for goods, energy and telecommunications for several NATO members. Russia maintains a port on the sea in the enclave of Kaliningrad.
“The Baltic Sea is such a complex waterway with such narrow points, so many littoral countries, that it is essential even during times of peace that expertise is set up to coordinate who does what,” Kaack said.
This was a central task for a headquarters during times of peace, that could take on the leadership of large naval combinations in the region, he added. The specialists for the task were already based in the eastern German port of Rostock, Kaack said.