While NATO’s military presence in Estonia, on Russia’s northwestern border, was never a secret, the presence of US troops on an alleged covert base was apparently a well-kept secret. The “secrecy” of the site, however, was revealed by the local broadcaster ERR, when one of its reporters was simply studying the US Department of Defense’s public records.
Although the documents sought to conceal the fact that Washington has a military base in the region, calling it an “indefinite training and operation facility”, the country where it was located was never secret. In Estonia, only NATO troops from the United Kingdom are deployed on the Tapa base in Estonia.
According to US Department of Defense documents, the $ 15.7 million earmarked for the deployment of the Estonian military base will be used to build many facilities, including barracks, a weapons depot, and a weapons clearance facility.
After two years of investigation, ERR reporters have been able to reach the “secret” base, which reportedly hosts a US Special Forces regiment. According to Kevin Stringer, a US Army colonel cited by the broadcaster, the base was established in 2014, when relations between neighboring Russia and the West began to decline.
“Secret” bases revealed in the past
This is not the first time that “secret” US bases have been accidentally exposed as a result of an accident or lack of surveillance. In November 2017, the popular Strava fitness app for smartphones released a world map of its most active users. Surprisingly, it was found that many users of the app were located, not in cities or sports centers, but in the middle of nowhere.
Given that some of these locations contained US military bases – some deemed secret – several media outlets claimed the application was used by soldiers. The United States is also planning to establish a military base in Poland.