During the opening ceremony the commander of the Latvian National Guard, Colonel Juris Zeibarts, emphasised the importance of such exercises as a good opportunity to improve military as well as communication, cooperation and, of course, language skills. Latvia, side by side with other EU countries, is participating in peacekeeping operations and such joint military exercises therefore provide excellent opportunities for improving mutual cooperation.
VIKING 08 is a distributed Command Post Exercise/Computer Assisted Exercise. This exercise is the fifth in the VIKING series which started in 1999.
The Exercise is built around a fictitious scenario involving several countries in deep crises. A substantial NATO Joint Task Force is intervening in one country. In a neighbouring country an EU Battlegroup is providing assistance. Both forces are operating under a UN Security Council mandate and their operations are being coordinated with one UN Mission covering both countries. The UN has a presence on the ground with a mission headquarters, a number of regional headquarters and agencies cooperating with international aid organisations and non-governmental organisations.