Defense ministry reorganization sees new defense readiness post created

EDF Conscripts.
EDF Conscripts. Source: Marina Loštsina/Ministry of Defense

A new position of Deputy Secretary-General for Defense Readiness is to be added to the Ministry of Defense structure, concentrating on crisis preparation issues, as well as conscription and other areas.

The government gave the nod to the new post at its regular Thursday cabinet meeting, spokespersons for the government said.

The civil servant who ends up as Deputy Secretary-General for Defense Readiness, and who has not been publicly named yet, will focus on the coordination of military service, including conscript service, voluntary contributions to national defense, and defense and crisis readiness issues, with the aim of distributing the management burden more evenly across the ministry, and to enable greater horizontal and international cooperation, BNS reports.

The post which will see the greatest workload alleviation once the defense readiness deputy is in place is the Deputy Secretary-General for Defense Planning.

Policy planning and defense readiness departments will also see a shift in focus, with the latter getting international military operations policy implementation and coordination with the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) and the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) from the former.

In addition, according to the draft, technical changes will be made in the wording of the tasks of the ministry's cyber policy department, BNS reports.

EDF and other related personnel are involved in several overseas ongoing missions, NATO, EU and unilateral, including to EU NAVFOR MED (superseded by Operation Sophia – ed.) patrolling the EU's southern frontier on the Mediterranean, Operation Inherent resolve (Iraq) and Operation Barkhane, a French-led counter-terrorism and human trafficking initiative covering much of Africa's Sahel region, with the EDF regularly sending an infantry platoon to the country of Mali.

Conscription in Estonia is generally in place for eight- or 11-month periods, depending on a conscript's posting. The conscript will remain on reserve lists thereafter, with training held around once every five years. Exemptions from conscription requirements include for university students. The volunteer Kaitseliit, and its women's, boys' and girls' analogs (Nasikodukaitse, Noored Kotkad and Kodutütred respectively – ed.) is an unpaid citizen force, recruited on a regional basis and including cyber warfare dimensions.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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