Number of annual military conscripts to rise to 4,000 in 2026

New EDF conscripts in Jõhvi.
New EDF conscripts in Jõhvi. Source: Marina Loštšina/EDF

Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform) signed a decree Friday which will boost the number of conscripts in Estonia to 4,000 in 2026, up from its current figure of 3,500.

Pevkur said: "Estonia has a reserve army, and in the current war in Ukraine we can see how important it is to have trained units and reserves at hand. The recent Okas snap military exercise demonstrated that our existing reserve system, which has been under development for almost 30 years, is working. It is vital that we continue to develop that, and that it also produces volumes of trained units." 

Call-ups take place three times a year and service periods are eight or 11 months, depending on which Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) unit the conscript serves with. Conscription quotas are established by the Minister of Defense alone, and not further decision is needed from either the executive or the legislature.

The increase will be carried out incrementally; 2023's figure has already been set at 3,800 conscripts, while the figure will remain the same for 2024 and is yet to be set for 2025.

In 2024, a little under 1,800 conscripts will be heading for the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade, a little under 800 to the 2nd Infantry Brigade, nearly 400 to cyber command, 300 to the military police and a similar number to support command, and nearly 240 to the navy, while 30 conscripts will also be heading to special operations commands.

The proportions will be similar in 2026, and slightly higher in absolute terms.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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