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General: More funding needed against cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns

Gen. Riho Terras.
Gen. Riho Terras. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

In an interview with military magazine Sõdur, commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), Gen. Riho Terras, called for more funding in the fight against psychological threats and to fend of cyberattacks.

Terras said that in the propaganda war as it was currently going on, positions needed to be taken and the necessary means allocated specifically for this purpose. Estonia's increased strategic communication budget is a move in the right direction, the general suggested.

"Our own exercises have proven that the issue is important, and that we need to go on dealing with it," he said, adding that certain competencies have already been created in the EDF.

The cyber dimension of modern warfare needs to be treated like any other kind of military branch, and in that sense are very similar to artillery, tanks, and aircraft. The only difference, according to Terras, is that military means in cyberspace can be applied during peace times as well.

Events in Africa, Middle East matter to Estonia because they involve Estonia's allies

Terras also stressed that Estonia needs to pay attention to what is going on in Africa and the Middle East as well, as there regions are important to Estonia's allies.

"Our allies in the South see that we are responsible, with our contribution to solving their probems," he said. "The proposal to send an Estonian unit to strengthen Afghanistan, and negotiations with France about potential joint operations are both a part of this great game and the bigger picture," Terras added.

The general also confirmed once again that he sees defense spending at least at 2 percent GDP as the minimum. Below that, there could be no talking about developing a NATO ally's defense forces, he said.

"There is never enough money. Another very important but limited resource in our case are people. Even by raising our spending on personnel and salaries we haven't been able to achieve the kind of growth we planned for. There has been a slight increase, yes, but no great leap forward. And because of that, the number of people in active service also limits our defensive capacity," Terras added.

Terras' tenure as commander of the EDF expires at the end of 2018.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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