Estonian government calls Okas snap exercise
The Estonian government on Thursday called an Okas ("Quill") snap exercise summoning 830 members of Estonia's territorial defense units. The government stressed that this is an exercise and that there is no immediate military threat to Estonia.
On the proposal of Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Gen. Martin Herem, 658 reservists from territorial defense units of the Estonian Defense League's (Kaitseliit, EDL) Pärnumaa, Saaremaa and Lääne districts — part of the Western Territorial Defense Region — are ordered to participate in the snap exercise, according to a press release.
An additional 172 EDL members have been invited to the exercise by district commanders.
Reservists whose units are called up are obligated to report immediately to their designated assembly point.
The 658 reservists called up Thursday are being summoned to the exercise in two parts: 622 will be participating in a traditional snap exercise from January 26-29, and 36 will be participating in a flexible snap exercise from January 26 through February 23.
The 172 EDL members invited to the exercise by district commanders will participate in the exercise from January 26-29.
The primary objective of Okas-1 23 is to test the national defense chain of command, from Estonian government decision through designated units in the rapid response structure achieving combat readiness.
During the exercise, units of the EDL's Western Territorial Defense Region will also practice performing wartime tasks and maintaining combat readiness for an extended period.
In addition to small unit tactics, this Okas exercise will involve practicing the flexible conducting of snap exercises. Within the flexible snap exercise, participating members will not constantly remain at their location of service; rather, they will be able to leave their location while sustaining constant readiness to report for duty within a set time limit.
Reservists in constant readiness away from the location of the exercise area are permitted to manage personal and work matters and will simultaneously be compensated for participation in the exercise as well.
Both the EDF and the EDL are tasked with ensuring that Estonia is constantly ready to defend itself, and this needs to be rehearsed via exercises, the government said. The national defense model is based on reserve military structures, which is why Estonia must organize regular peacetime exercises in order to maintain and boost the ability of the reserve structure to react in a timely fashion.
The EDF regularly orders reservists to participate in larger and smaller exercises, such as Siil ("Hedgehog") and Kevadtorm ("Spring Storm") with 120 days' advance notice.
The 658 reservists called up by the EDF can check their orders online at www.kaitsevaeteenistus.ee.
EDF members invited by district commanders can check on the invitation sent by their respective districts.
All Okas participants can receive additional information about the exercise from their home district.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla