CIOR helps junior reserve officers get the experience needed to serve in a multinational HQ

Every reserve officers career will most likely come to a point where there is an opportunity to serve in a multinational headquarter. It is a great opportunity for junior reserve officer to develop their skills and get to the next level in their career but also a great responsibility and a challenge. One of the objectives for CIORs is to train junior reserve officers and provide experience in working with Allies from NATO and NATO partnering countries.

Reserve officers CAPT Ronny Vossen (DNK) – Young Reserve Officers (YRO) committee Secretary and LT Mari Uuemaa (EST) – former Young Reserve Officers Committee member both have completed the CIOR YRO program. They are now serving together in the NATOs Eastern Flank command – Multinational Division North (MND-N) and currently contributing to the security of the Baltic Sea region by participating in MND-N exercise Griffin Lightning 2023.

1. How did you get involved with CIOR?

Mari: I first got involved with CIOR when I participated in the Young Reserve Officers Seminar (YROS) is 2019, it was a great opportunity to get to know officers from other nations – learn how they work and how they see the world. Being part of CIOR did have and influence in me being appointed to MND-N.

Ronny: I was on the board of the Danish Reserve Officers Organization, when I first learned about CIOR, and how involved Denmark was in CIOR. I later participated in the YRO programme initially as delegate, later as delegation lead and as member of the YRO Committee.

Lt Mari Uuemaa and Capt Ronny Vossen on MND-N exercise Griffin Lightning 23. Photo: Morten Fredslund

2. How has CIOR YRO programme helped you professionally?

Mari: I participated in YROS but I was also a YRO Committee member and now I am in CIOR Presidency team. I feel all of this has given me a real understanding of other nations, not only about their countries and defence forces but also what kind of people they are, what personality traits they share. I am a pretty impatient and sometimes really straightforward person, I have learned that I can interact with Estonians like that and it will not be a problem but I must be careful when interacting with other nations who have different communication customs.

Ronny: Being part of CIOR and the YRO programme has broadened my perspective. Not only on NATO alliance structure, strategic concepts and operations, but also on the role of the reservist, National Reserve Force structures and challenges of Reserve forces of NATO and NATO partner nations.  Aside from gaining a better understanding of the spectrum of global geopolitical tensions, interactions, national perceptions, and relationships in an international environment, I am very grateful for the relations established with young reserve officers from all over the world – peers that are all part of the YRO-family.

Lt Mari Uuemaa and Capt Ronny Vossen on MND-N exercise Griffin Lightning 23. Photo: Morten Fredslund

Participating in the exercise is also CIOR Secretary General MAJ Andre Lilleleht (EST): “This is a perfect example how CIOR supports junior reserve officer’s personal development and how that can prepare them for a position in an international headquarters like Multinational Division North” he said. “Mari’s and Ronny’s example shows how CIOR helps to not only great personal relationships and friendships but also professional ones that benefit the NATO alliance. Working together with a person you already know makes the team more efficient and a unit combat ready much faster.” he added.

Lt Mari Uuemaa, maj Andre Lilleleht and capt Ronny Vossen. Photo: Morten Fredslund

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.

Griffin Lightning 23 (GRLI23) purpose is to enhance readiness and interoperability between forces and nations in order to  demonstrate the Alliance determination, cohesion and ability to act as one in response to any aggression against  its members. GRLI23 is the Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) venue for MND-N to confirm Full Operational Capabilities as a division headquarters in NATO force structure.