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Jun 15 2020

Legal Advisors support Law and Order during BALTOPS 20

OEIRAS, PORTUGAL – A team of eight legal advisors (LEGADs) from seven countries, provide legal advice and counsel throughout Baltic Operations 20 (BALTOPS) at Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO).

BALTOPS is a key exercise series, during which, NATO and Partner nations exercise their rights under international law for the safe and unrestricted navigation and overflight of international waters
The LEGAD team included participants from the U.S. (Cmdr. Louis Butler), Norway (Lt Col Andreas Almås-Norum), Canada (LCdr/Capc Catherine Punshon), Denmark (LCDR Carsten Schmidt), the Netherlands (Maj Stijn Henken), Poland (Civ Inga Zapala), and Portugal (LTJG Inês Silva and Civ Raquel Ribeiro). 

Led by STRIKFORNATO’s LEGAD, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Louis Butler, the team supported operational commanders with throughout the exercise, ensuring compliance with international law and NATO rules of engagement. 

“BALTOPS is a key exercise series, during which, NATO and Partner nations exercise their rights under international law for the safe and unrestricted navigation and overflight of international waters”, Butler said. 

BALTOPS is the largest annual exercise series in the Baltic Sea. Its purpose is to improve training for participants, enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate resolve among Allied and Partner Forces in defending the Baltic Sea Region. 

“STRIKFORNATO coordinates exercise activities with the NATO Shipping Centre to ensure there are no impacts to merchant shipping and even offers valuable civilian-military training experience for merchant vessels who would like to participate while transiting through the Baltic Sea during the exercise,” Butler said. “Open communication and opportunities for safe and professional maritime interaction fosters stability in the Baltic Region and promotes adherence to international law and norms.”

LEGADs throughout the military advise commanders on complex and sensitive legal questions of environmental, operational and international law. 

STRIKFORNATO maintains a broad training and exercise program, shaped by both the NATO Exercise Program and the U.S. Joint Exercise Program, to ensure a high state of readiness. 
STRIKFORNATO's Legad Team



Lt Col Andreas Almås-Norum, Norway

Story by Raquel Ribeiro, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO 

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