Latvia's defense concept is based upon four basic pillars: collective defense as a member of NATO, professionalization of the armed forces, support and coordination with civil society, and international military cooperation. The regular forces are composed of the land forces, an air force focused on air surveillance and search and rescue, and naval forces focused on coastal surveillance, assertion of sovereignty, mine countermeasures, search and rescue, and environmental protection.
Latvia has emerged as a significant international player, supporting peace and democracy world wide. Per capita, it is one of the largest contributors to international military operations. It has deployed troops to Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, and the Balkans. It also works closely with the U.S. and the EU to support and promote democracy in the former Soviet Union states of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Georgia. The Latvian military participates in Exercise Sabre Strike, Exercise Baltic Host, Baltic Operations, Joint Staff Talks and various other engagements with the U.S. There is an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement in place with Latvia.