Hurt: not all election promises on defense realistic
Each time a politicians speaks about new military capabilities for Estonia's Defense Forces, which are not in the long-term development plan, they stray from realism, says Martin Hurt, the deputy head of the International Center for Defense and Security.
He said if politicians are promising to spend the 2 percent of GDP on defense in the future, then that has already been calculated into the military's development plan. “If one or another party now comes out prioritizing coastal defense or medium range air-defense, then those ideas are not financed in current plans.”
Politicians must provide funding sources for any new defense ideas, or name developments which will be cut.
“The funding for each attractive promise, such as new capabilities for the Defense Forces or new tasks for the home guard, remains unclear,” Hurt said.
He added that a more positive thing is the parties's pledge to increase internal security spending, which he said has been less well funded than defense. “Looking at which methods our great eastern neighbor is using, not only against Ukraine but also against us, then internal security is very important.”
“Estonia can find tens or hundreds of millions of euros of additional funds from the budget for defense, but a big leap in deterrence can only be achieved if allies send their troops here,” Hurt said.
The Defense Forces have a 10-year development plan, which was reviewed at the end of 2012. The plan's wings were then clipped, as the regional security situation had not yet deteriorated and the recession was still biting.