Annual CIOR and CIOMR joint Mid-Winter Meeting (MWM23) in NATO HQ

The Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) in conjunction with The Interallied Confederation of Medical Reserve Officers (CIOMR) will hold a joint Mid-Winter Meeting (MWM23) in Brussels (BEL) during the period 30 January – 03 February 2023.  In cooperation with NATO National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC), a seminar will also be held in NATO HQ Press Theatre on February 1st. This year the seminar is dedicated to war in Ukraine, its consequences to Europe, Russia and the whole world as well as reserve forces role in Ukrainian conflict.

The MMW23 is the first of two key annual CIOR and CIOMR meetings during which both organisations’ Presidents and Vice-Presidents will exchange information to determine how the two organisations will contribute to the coherent development of national Reserves and enhanced cooperation between member nations. The Vice-President’s represent their country’s national Reserve organisations with strong links and responsibilities to their MoDs and Defence Forces who support their position as CIOR or CIOMR delegates.

This year’s MWM meeting is significant. NATO National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC), CIOR, CIOMR and Interallied Confederation of Reserve Non-commissioned Officers (CISOR) from across our NATO or affiliated to NATO member countries responsible for national Reserve issues will be in attendance to support collaborative working.

The Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers, commonly referred to by its French acronym CIOR (Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve) is a formal NATO-affiliated, non-political and non-profit umbrella organization of member nations’ national reserve officer associations. CIOR represents the interests of over 1 million reservists across 34 participating nations within and beyond NATO, making it the world’s largest military reserve officer organization.

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Seminar speakers


Estonian Defense Forces commander warns about the next phase of Russian aggression

MARTIN HEREM: Russia’s defeat in Ukraine would not put an end to the danger that lurks us.

“We have no right to underestimate Russia’s aggressiveness in the future, and there is also no reason to think that the defeat of the Russians in Ukraine would be the end of any danger lurking in wait for us.”, emphasizes the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), Lieutenant General Martin Herem, in a post published on social media.

“We naturally have to focus on Ukrainian victory right now, since this is the primary and inevitable goal on the way to securing a better future. This is, however, only the first goal. Second, we have to be prepared for Russia’s next aggression against us in Estonia, against our allies and our values. We are all waiting for the end of the war between Ukraine and Russia. It is widely believed that, in order to end the conflict, the Russian Federation must withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory. This includes eastern Ukraine and Crimea. This is what we all desire, and hope for.” he writes.

Based on Lt Gen. Herem´s social media post (link in Estonian). Published and translated by Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).

Read the full article here:

The high-tech mass of Estonia and its allies is superior to our opponent's technology.
Photo: Valmar Voolaid/Estonian Defense Forces

Reservists from Denmark, Estonia, Canada and Latvia train at NATO exercise

Reserve officers and NCOs from Denmark, Estonia, Canada and Latvia take part of the exercise Knight Lion 22 from 16 to 25 November in Adazi military base, Latvia.

“ Reserves are playing a very important role in manning the headquarters of the Multinational Division North and conducting exercise KNIGHT LION, as well as sharing experience and promoting interoperability and cooperation among participating personnel and nations,” Major General Flemming Mathiasen, Commander of Multinational Division North said.

Knight Lion 22 is preparatory exercise for exercise Griffin Lightning 23, where NATO´s Multinational Division North units improve their readiness and enhance the NATO interoperability based on common use of doctrines, tactics, procedures and functional services, ensuring that NATO and Partner Nations can operate together effectively to keep our nations safe.

Former CIOR YROWs Captain Ronny Vossen from Denmark and Lieutenant Mari Uuemaa from Estonia stationed now in the MNDN.

Multinational Division North is an integral part of NATO force structure. The division was established to demonstrate NATO´s will and ability to defend Baltic States and secure peace and stability in the region.

During peacetime, the Multinational Division North is manned by regulars but during exercises reservists are called up to train together. This year, more than 14 nations are represented on exercise Knight Lion, among them many reserve officers and non-commissioned officers. Reserve personnel at Multinational Division North mainly comes from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia and Canada.

By: Multinational Division North public affair officer

Reserve personnel at Multinational Division North mainly comes from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia and Canada.

IBM done!

Successful working sessions and visit to the Finnish National Defence University

By: 1st Lieutenant (r) Susanna Takamaa, the Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation/CIOR StratCom

The first IBM (1/4) lead by the Estonian Presidency was helIBMd in Helsinki, Finland, with fifty international reserve officers around the CIOR from the 27th to 29th of October 2022. The meeting was planned and executed as hyper meeting, so delegations were able to take part in the meetings also remotely.

Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France and Germany Vice-Presidents

The first full working day of the IBM took off with opening remarks from the President followed by council working session and a presentation from the NRFC secretary general at the Paasitorni Congress Center. After the morning session the reserve officers took a trip to military island Santahamina, where the Guard Jaeger Regiment operates. Santahamina also provides a home for the Finnish National Defence University.

The IBM attendees were given a presentation of the Finnish Defence System, they got an overview of the Finnish officer’s education and how the Finnish reserve is trained. Pistol shooting event was organized in Santahamina for the IBM participants.

FNDF Head Of Department (Military Technology) Col Mauri Etelämäki and CIOR President LtCol Toomas Luman

“It was great to introduce our system to foreign reserve officers, we had excellent conversations and also planned the CIOR Summer Congress scheduled to take place in Helsingi next summer” 1st Lieutenant (r) Aaro Mäkelä from the Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation says. “We are well prepared for the upcoming Summer Congress and warmly welcome our fellow reserve officers to Helsinki”.

Saturday held within a council working sessions. The council had presentations from the CIOMR and CISOR and there were discussions over the strategic program and finance. The next meeting will be the Mid-Winter Meeting, which will take place in Brussels at the end of January 2023.

IBM participants

Autumn IBM to take place in Helsinki

First Estonian Presidency IBM 1/4 in Helsinki at 27-29 October 2022.

By: Susanna Takamaa, 1st LT, Finnish Reserve Officers’ Federation/ CIOR Public Affairs.

The Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) will hold an In Between Meeting One (IBM 1/4) of the Estonian Presidency through 27th to 29th of October 2022 in Helsinki, Finland. This will be a hybrid event – physical meetings shall take place at Helsinki Congress Paasitorni with virtual participation in some CIOR and/or CIOMR organized working sessions.

The CIOR President’s intent is to develop a sustainable and balanced financing strategy for the organization and define the responsibilities and rights of the committees. The meetings will seek to realize outcomes in accordance with Presidential Aims, Strategic Objectives and CIOR Business and Planning.

“This is a planning meeting for CIOR” says Lieutenant Colonel (r) Toomas Luman, the President of CIOR.
Committees are expected to present they reports about current situation and plans for next year in this meeting. Council is to discuss the matters in agenda and prepare topics that need council decision for the next meeting, that is a meeting with the power make legally binding decisions.
“We wish participants to have progressive work sessions to develop the organization and prepare it for the next year, but also introduce the Baltic Sea region security issues and allies hopefully very soon to be CIOR full members, such as Finland” Luman adds.

Registration period will be open from Monday, 5 September until Thursday, 13 October. All participants must register through Fienta online registration using the link provided to those who are expected to participate. All meetings will be hosted in the Helsinki Congress Paasitorni, Finland, whereas virtual participation will be in Teams. Link for virtual participants to join virtual sessions will be sent out 27 October, link is valid from icebreaker until the end of the IBM.

“This event is short and mainly just working sessions, but the highlight would also be the one day visit to Santahamina, where the IBM attendees will be briefed about the Finnish defence system and military education” 1st Lieutenant (r) Aaro Mäkelä, the President of Finnish Reserve Officers’ Association tells.

“here is also possibility to take part of CIOR presidents favorited military skill – pistol shooting.

Estonian reserve officers took over CIOR presidency

Estonian Reserve Officers Association took over CIOR presidency from Germany on August 5th in Athens.

By: Ingrid Mühling, Lt Cdr, Estonian Navy/ CIOR Public Affairs.

Lt Col Toomas Luman, new president of CIOR, said in his letter to CIOR committees, that in current security situation many countries pay more attention to reserve forces than years ago. „The post Cold War notion that NATO can be defended only by regular forces, is no longer valid. During our presidency we aim to harmonise NATO and partner countries understanding of the use of reserves and draw the attention of NATO`s Military Committee and Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) to reserve forces issues. „Estonia´s defence is based on reserve force, we know what it means for a country, for employers and for the military to have a large reserve force“ he added.

Lt Col Luman emphasized that committees role in CIOR development should expand. „Committees are the cornerstone of our organization, they create value and outputs that will be visible to NATO and member nations“ he said. In order to make co-ordination between committees and presidential team smoother, committees have designated team members who help to co-ordinate their activities and solve problems if they occur.

Estonian presidential team comprises of officers from Belgium, Finland, Denmark, UK and Estonia. International members reflect the international nature of CIOR and help create synergy between member countries.

Estonian Reserve Officers Association was established 1997 and joined CIOR two years later. EROA became full member of CIOR after Estonia joined NATO. Estonia co-chaired CIOR presidency during UK´s chairmanship and organized number of CIOR events including Summer Congress 2019 and Late Summer Congress 2020. Next In Between Meeting and Summer Congress 2023 will be held in Helsinki, Finland.

CIOR Permrep handing over the flag from German presidency to Estonian presidency.
From the left: new CIOR President Lt Col Toomas Luman, Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur, former CIOR president Capt (Navy) Jan Hörman
The incoming Estonian presidency team.


Last Day of Summer Congress

The Summer Congress drew to a close Friday morning, with only the military competition award ceremony and gala dinner left of this year’s main CIOR event. The outgoing German-led presidency summed up its achievements, and the incoming Estonian-led international management team presented their plan.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt. Col (R), Norwegian Army/ CIOR Public Affairs.

During the German tenure, Portugal and North Macedonia became members of CIOR. On German Navy Captain (R) president Jan Hörmann’s watch, CIOR also established a ’Cyber Reserve’ committee, in line with developing threats.

The theme for the German-led presidency was ’Visibility and Resilience’, and on the latter strand of work, the IT infrastructure of CIOR has been updated. During the pandemic, CIOR held its first ever fully virtual meetings, and – as an internal working tool – a digital phone book for the organisation.

Among the main efforts to better the visibility of the confederation, and consequently the visibility of the associated reserves, were major updates to the website content, e.g. the ’CIOR at a glance’ informational section, and the Wikipedia entry on the organisation.

The presidency has also done its bit to better stakeholder relations, and gave an update to the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) head of delegations meeting, and also did a presentation to the NRFC staff officer meetings. In addition, members of the Presidency have lectured at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany.

Two changes in the general situation

There have been two changes in the general world situation during as many years; first the pandemic and then the Russian war against Ukraine – resulting in the Wilhelmshaven Declaration condemning the Russian aggression in the strongest possible terms.

Among the military highlights was the sailing spring meeting (IBM) on board the German frigate Sachsen-Anhalt in April, where CIOR was even allowed to hoist its flag on board the vessel – the first time that a warship from a NATO country has ” sailed under the CIOR flag”.

The transformation of CIOR as a new legal entity in accordance with current Belgian law, and development of financial guidelines have been two of the biggest challenges.

Readiness and Credibility

The Estonian Presidency’s overarching theme is ’Readiness and Credibility’. Its strategic aim will be:
• Strengthening national defence of Allies by sharing experience of national reserve components;
• Ensuring the provisions of critical services in member nations’ societies through smart cyber defence capabilities;
• Protecting civil society from malign influence and disinformation at the age of digital society through social media or other digital channels.

Ambitious Programme

The cooperation of all CIOR member national associations, committees, and the international presidency team is considered necessary for the success of what is considered a very ambitious program, by a highly motivated and determined team.

To ensure that the CIOR committees are successful, it is considered paramount to staff them properly and give them a clear direction regarding their work.

The Russian War Against Ukraine

The CIOR Summer Congress Symposium “Russian War Against Ukraine” was attended by hundreds of congress participants from over 30 nations in Athens today. The Minister of National Defence of Greece Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos was among the keynote speakers.

By Capt. Christina Judd, U.S. Air Force Reserve/CIOR Public Affairs

The minister thanked the reserve forces for their participation in the annual meeting and for visiting Greece after the long hiatus.

The Minister spoke about the incredible need of reserve forces and emphasized that the Ukrainian reserves are currently fighting for their lives and their country. He said all reservists are uniquely motivated.

“You are called from deep inside and you are driven forward by sense of duty and love as a genuine volunteer force that galvanises us all in order to meet very challenging security issues,” Panagiotopoulos said.

The Ambassador of Ukraine to the Hellenic Republic, Sergil Shutenko, addressed the congress providing an intimate assessment of the current fight going on in Ukraine, noting they are in the 161st day of war. Shutenko credited the west’s swift military and humanitarian aid as a key factor in the fight against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

“No one wanted this war, other than Russia,” said Shutenko. “No country in the world craves peace more than Ukraine.”

The Deputy Minister of Education of Greece, Angelos Syrigoa, drove home the international and security issues the current war is causing for the world. Syrigoa, a religious affairs professor of international law and foreign policy, discussed the problem of authoritarian leaders in the 21st century and the trickle-down effects their actions cause.

Tobias Gehrke from Egmont Institute said Europe and the west must protect and promote four geoeconomics elements during a time of war. He challenged members of CIOR to deter economic coercion, protect critical capabilities, shape global connectivity and boost emerging capabilities to safeguard sovereignty of nations and maintain rules-based order.

Paula Redondo from NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division gave a case study on analyzing the Russian invasion and its effect on the food and energy crises. Redondo said CIOR is a direct support to NATO, the strongest military alliance in the world.

The symposium was concluded with a case study presented by Major Dawn LeBlanc from CIOMR, the confederation for medical reservists. She and a team of 150 Canadian active and reserve forces provided medical support to Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Poland accepted over three million refugees in less than 60 days after Feb. 24. LeBlanc emphasised the need for roaming care and mental health workers to care for those who had experienced the atrocities of war.

More information about the 2022 Summer Congress in Athens can be found on our social media pages.

#nato #cior #reserves #reservists #visibilityandresilience #defence #defense #military #ciorseminar

Photos by Susanna Takamaa, 1st Lieutenant (R), Finnish Reserve Officers Association/ CIOR Public Affairs and Brig. gen. Erich Cibulka (R), Swiss Armed Forces.

CLA rocks!

Yet another successful CIOR Language Academy (CLA) has been completed, teaching English and French as a second language, emphasising a NATO military lexicon while at the same time providing an orientation towards CIOR.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt. Col (R), Norwegian Army/ CIOR Public Affairs.

The CLA took place at the Greek School of infrantry in Chalkida prior to the Summer Congress, and was completed on the 29th of July. It was the first courses to be held in two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The instructors, qualified reserve officers as well as skilled linguists and teachers, were provided by CIOR member nations and were selected through a competitive process.

The students were NATO reserve officers and active duty officers from Europe, USA and Canada. Through the CLA they have been provided with an essential and indispensable tool to carry out international NATO business – the ability to communicate in one of NATO’s two official languages.

The CLA runs annually for two weeks in a different host nation each time. Previous hosts include Estonia, Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Türkiye and The Republic of North Macedonia.

Students on both the English course (EFL) and French course (FFL) have the opportunity to qualify through the STANAG language examination run by Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) at level 2 and 3. This language qualification is required for careers and deployments within NATO, and is much sought after.

Summer Congress well under way

The Summer Congress opening ceremony took place at the Zappeion Megaron in Athens – a part of the national heritage of the Greek civilisation. Before that, wreaths were laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. By now, the first day and a half of meetings are also completed.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt. Col (R), Norwegian Army/ CIOR Public Affairs.
Photo: Susanna Takamaa, 1st Lieutenant (R), Finnish Reserve Officers Association/ CIOR Public Affairs.

The congress started with Council- and committee work on Monday morning, and continued into Tuesday. With the CIOR President’s remarks, status on the establishment of CIOR as a Legal Entity under Belgian law, and finances.

There was then an update on CIOR’s cooperation with the National Reserve Forces Committee/NRFC, CIOMR (the organisation for medical reserve officers) and CISOR (the organisation for non-comissioned officers), and a discussion on future presidencies and summer congresses – as well as CIOR’s orientation towards Cyber Defence and the establishment of a Cyber committee.

This was followed by a roundtable on Sweden and Finland becoming full members of CIOR once the countries’ NATO membership applications are accepted by the national assemblies of all the member nations of the Alliance.

Tuesday morning, representatives of all the participating national delegations visited the arena of the Military Competition (MILCOMP).

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