National security Egils Levits
Egils Levits

Honourable Defence Minister, honourable Chief of the Defence Staff, dear graduates, ladies and gentlemen,


Let me congratulate you, the new lieutenants of the Latvian army, on graduating the National Defence Academy of Latvia and your first professional rank – the rank of an officer of Latvian Armed Forces!

Our naval, air and land force will be greatly reinforced by you. Serving in your national armed forces is the highest form of patriotism. Troops serve to protect the current and future security of their nation.


Each of you has their own reasons for choosing military career. For some, inspiration came from an exciting action flick or a virtual game. Others were probably inspired by their family history or tales of Latvian war heroes. But, above all, you were driven by desire to serve your people and defend Latvia. That is why you are here and ready to accept this enormous challenge. Latvia is currently faced with conventional threats, but it also faces many new hybrid threats. Modern-day soldiers need to be well-versed in global developments and capable of discriminating what is true and what is not – able to separate facts from false narratives.


Our history has taught us how important it is to have the support of other countries. And we have such support. Our army is not facing these challenges alone as we were forced to do 81 years ago when our history changed forever.

Since summer of 2017, our allies are here, in the Baltics, as part of NATO’s collective deterrence policy and strengthening of the Alliance’s Eastern flank.

Our allies will rush to our help whenever we might need to defend our country against military aggression. I received additional reassurances from US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders during the recent NATO Brussels Summit, so Latvia is surrounded by strong allies and friends.


Latvia, like Estonia and Lithuania, is part of the collective security system of the West. This means that we have to show our solidarity and also given instead of just receiving. Our troops have traditionally been well respected and they have also proved their worth during international operations. I have no doubt that you too will rush to your NATO allies’ help if the need arises. The same way they support you.


Thank you to the parents, teachers and professors at the National Defence College for all the love and effort you have put into raising and educating these fine men and women!

Our people count on you, the Latvian army, for defending our statehood and territorial integrity, people’s political rights, our legitimacy, democratic values and freedom.

I wish you to serve your country and people well. I hope you will carry your badge with pride and will do everything to make our army better.