Growing home guard needs more resources, says officer
The Estonian Defense League, a voluntary home guard, has seen the number of new recruits increase since the Ukraine crisis began. The institution is aiming to increase its numbers to 30,000, double the current participation.
Lieutenant Colonel Toomas Väli, the head of the Defense League's Tallinn headquarters, said the force is currently handling the increased influx well.
“At some point this will bring about a very sizable redistribution of resources. The problem is not so much in equipment for infantry, but greater capability must come with greater manpower – to put it bluntly, larger and stronger weapons,” he said.
Defense League chief Brigadier General Meelis Kiili said the force currently makes up 8 percent of the nation's entire defense budget. He said he does not know what the budget would be like for 30,000 people.
“The Defense League creates ability for national defense. This is inexpensive. If those abilities are implemented, then similar resources, as enjoyed by other organizations, are necessary,” Kiili said.
Deputy Director of National Security and Defense Coordination at the Government Office Kristjan Prikk said resources depend on the tasks. “If the situation is that men are just enlisted, then the resource is not very big. If tasks exceed being mere infantry unit, then needs increase substantially,” he added.