Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) approved the proposal of Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Lt. Gen. Martin Herem to appoint Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm commander of the recently established EDF division. Palm has served as deputy commander of the EDF since June 2021.
"Veiko-Vello Palm has served in the EDF for more than 20 years and knows it inside out," Pevkur said, adding that this made him the logical choice for the position. "I'm positive that [Maj.] Gen. Palm is aware of the high expectations placed on him. Establishing a division is one of the biggest challenges in defense, which means very good working relationships both within the EDF as well as with our allies not only militarily, but also on an interpersonal level."
"The establishment of the division will bring about some of the biggest changes the EDF has experienced since its reestablishment," Palm said. "The division will allow us to combine our brigades and territorial defense as well as allied units contributing to our defense into a single strike force. This will make it possible to make the entire country safer, so that our state can continue to function even in crisis conditions."
In addition to studies at the Estonian National Defense Academy, Palm also studied for several years at the Finnish National Defense University (MPKK), from which he earned a master's degree in 2005.
He has also served abroad in Afghanistan, led the integration of the NATO battalion in Estonia into the EDF and from 2018-2021 served as chief of staff of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defense Forces.
Estonian division established in December
On December 8, 2022, the Estonian government amended the statutes of the EDF to establish a divisional structure in Estonia under the framework of NATO as agreed at the alliance's Madrid summit last June.
The amendment to the statutes granted Estonia's minister of defense the authority to appoint the commander of the division on condition of a proposal by the commander of the EDF.
To be assigned to Estonia's newly established division are the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Brigade, Logistics Battalion and Headquarters Support and Signal Battalion, as well as an allied brigade which, under previous agreement, will be a brigade assigned by the U.K. to Estonian defense.
The division will be a wartime unit and regular structural unit whose primary function is to plan and conduct military operations within its area of responsibility with units in its composition and those temporarily in its subordination.
The division's area of operation will cover the entire territory of Estonia. Its headquarters is located in Tallinn, with a peacetime staff of approximately 100.
If necessary, this division may be assigned to the NATO chain of command by order of the chief of the EDF.
Editor: Aili Vahtla