The Cabinet today confirmed the military's new development plan for the 2013 to 2022 period.
The commander in chief of the Defense Forces, Brig. Gen. Riho Terras, said in a press release that the plan will boost defense power while reducing bureaucracy. “Our aim is a Defense Forces that have quicker reactions and greater fire power,” added the general.
“A large reserve army of men and women who have completed the mandatory military service will continue to be the basis of Estonian defense capabilities,” said Minister of Defense Urmas Reinsalu and added that the development plan is practical and will guarantee Estonia initial self-defense capabilities.
According to the new plan, the following changes will take place:
- quick reaction force numbers will increase to 21,000 soldiers
- Land Forces will have two infantry brigades, one of which will be mechanized
- anti-tank units to receive new equipment
- the home guard ("Defense League") size will increase from 22,250 to 30,000 in ten years
- the home guard is to be responsible for territorial defense
- headquarters of the Land Forces and the Defense Forces will be united
- new barracks to be built in Tapa, Jõhvi, Võru and Ämari
- number of professional soldiers will increase by 500 to 3,600
- pre-recession pay levels will be restored
The plan was originally drawn up in 2007 but had to be cut back due to changes in the economic environment.
The country's previous, more ambitious plan included a medium-range air defense system, speedboats for the Navy, helicopters for the Air Force and tanks, according to Postimees.