Defense minister proposes extending EDF commander's term

Commander of the EDF, Lt. Gen. Martin Herem.
Commander of the EDF, Lt. Gen. Martin Herem. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) will make a proposal to the government to extend the term of Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Lt. Gen. Martin Herem by two years.

Pevkur on Wednesday asked Herem to continue heading the EDF until 2025.

The minister said that Herem has done excellent work in developing the armed forces.

"I am glad Lt. Gen. Herem agreed as I knew before our meeting that he has been a strong EDF commander and that developing Estonia's defensive capacity and maintaining our freedom are matters of the heart for him. Considering the general security situation, I am convinced that the EDF will be well-served by continuing under recent management," Pevkur noted.

The minister highlighted Herem's clear understanding and vision for defensive capabilities.

In addition to MLRS missile systems, so-called killer drones and additional mobile artillery procurements, the EDF wants and needs to develop air defense in the coming year. The force will also have to train an additional 10,000 reservists who will be counted as part of territorial defense in case of war, Pevkur said, adding that all of it contributes to boosting Estonia's ability to defend itself.

Herem started his service in the Estonian Defense Forces in 1992 and served as commander of the EDF Headquarters before being appointed EDF commander. Prior to that, Herem headed the Estonian National Defense College and served as chief of the Northeast Defense District and chief of staff at the Tapa Training Center.

He has also participated in a foreign mission in Iraq and is a founding member of the restored Estonian Defense League.

The standard term of the commander is five years, which the government can extend by two years. Herem became EDF commander in December of 2018.

The term in office of Herem's predecessor Riho Terras was also extended by two years.

Läänemets wants to find new heads for the ISS, PPA and Rescue Board by November

The government will have to find people to lead several other security institutions in the near future. The terms of the directors of the Internal Security Service (ISS), Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Rescue Board.

Minister of Internal Affairs Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said that their terms cannot be extended.

"They cannot continue. To the best of my knowledge, all three are finishing up their second term, meaning that they will need to be replaced."

Läänemets added that he will have to see how far the previous government got in the selection process. He would like the decisions to be made by November as that would leave the new directors time to be involved in the budget process and the ministry wants key people to be in place in what is an uncertain security situation.

The defense minister said it is not clear whether the new heads will be appointed individually or whether it will be a parcel decision.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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