Defense Forces preparing to accept fewer conscripts this summer

EDF conscripts' boots on the ground.
EDF conscripts' boots on the ground. Source: Karl Jakob Toplaan

The Estonian Defense Forces' medical committees are not currently operating during the ongoing emergency situation, and the Defense Resources Agency (KRA) cannot send call-up selectees into the EDF that have not been cleared by a medical committee. As a result, the number of conscripts to enter service this summer may be reduced from the expected 2,000 to approximately 1,400.

Call-ups to conscription this summer are scheduled to begin on July 13. Half of call-up selectees have already received medical committee clearance and received their call-up orders. While the EDF plans on calling up 2,000 conscripts for service this summer, medical committees are not operating during the emergency situation.

"We are currently short 600 conscripts of 1,977," Commander of the EDF Maj. Gen. Martin Herem told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."

A shortage of 600, however, accounts for more than half a battalion. The EDF is currently considering how to outfit its various service arms in such a situation — whether to spread out conscripts in such a way that everyone is a bit short, or whether to go without certain arms.

"One crucial detail is that in our training, we want to conduct cooperation between different branches, and if some branches are missing altogether, we can't have this cooperation," Herem said.

The KRA told "Aktuaalne kaamera" that the reinstatement of medical committees for call-up selectees in May would require the current emergency situation to be lifted. Should this end up being the case, they should still be able to make up the majority of the missing 600 conscripts.

"If we can continue the work of our medical committees once the emergency situation is over, then by an optimistic estimate we should be able to make up 400 of this shortage," KRA Director General Marlen Piskunov said, adding that they would most likely still end up some 200 conscripts short.

Estonia's defense readiness is ensured even without conscripts, Herem stressed. Air policing out of Ämari Air Base does not need conscripts, and the Estonian Navy's need for conscripts aboard their ships is limited and can be ensured.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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