The defence postures of Nato allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stand to benefit from the passing of the US government funding legislation that passed through Congress on 22 March 2024, as the bill will provision for $228m in security aid for the Baltic Security Initiative.

The focus of the funding, according to the Estonian Ministry of Defence, is on developing air defence, maritime situational awareness, and land forces. 

Bordering the Baltic Sea in close proximity to Russia, the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has inspired a heightened pattern of defence spending across the nations. 

While Russia has sustained heavy losses to its land forces during the war, on 13 March 2024 the Atlantic Council think tank pointed to multiple estimates that Russia could reconstitute its forces in three to five years, highlighting this as an opportunity and necessity for Nato forces to enhance their deterrence posture in the region.

Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur welcomed the passage of the bill, which included $47.3m for Estonia’s Foreign Military Financing programme. “Support from the US has significantly helped Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fast track several military infrastructure and capability development projects.”

With internal US pressure, and parties closely examining and debating the pattern of spending by the Biden administration on internationalist projects, Pevkur was heartened to see the support for Baltic States rise to the new level from 2023’s $225m, and the $169m provided in 2022.

“The good news is that the support is slightly higher than last year. This sends a clear signal that the US, the largest ally in NATO, is committed to the security and stability of our region,” said Pevkur.

The Baltic Security Initiative was begun in 2020 by the US Department of Defence as a means to support the defence capabilities and interoperability of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.