Laaneots: Too Few Defense Experts in Parliament
Former chief of the Estonian Defense Forces Ants Laaneots, who recently joined the Reform Party, said Parliament has had too few military experts.
“There are many good and smart people. But there are none who know much about the military, war, operation strategies or the art of tactics,” he told ETV.
He said he agrees with much of the Reform Party's thoughts on defense matters, but a few points need to altered.
Another retired general and former head of the military, Johannes Kert, who also joined the Reform Party, said more continuity is needed to rule out revolutionary changes after each time a new defense minister takes the helm.
Both retired generals stressed the importance of border defense, saying the current eastern border of Estonia is too similar to the Schengen area's internal borders.
The enlistment of the two former chiefs is a coup for the Reform Party to shore up its defense credentials. Reform had earlier played with the idea of reforming conscription, allowing people to take an exam instead of serving 8-11 month terms. The opposition called the Reform Party weak on defense, and seemed headed to be one of the key issues during the March 2015 parliamentary elections.
The Reform Party later dropped the idea.