Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) Gen. Martin Herem wants annual summer conscription call-ups to take place two weeks later than they currently do.
"I submitted such a proposal to the Minister of Defence," Herem said in an interview with daily Postimees (link in Estonian).
"Primarily so that people can complete their exams, and then it is clear for us who we can recruit into service," he explained. "As we currently call up either leaders, who should have at least an upper secondary education, or drivers, then we are not currently satisfied with the choice. Our experiences also demonstrate that the sooner we reach a citizen, the more likely they will complete conscription training."
Herem also admitted that plans to increase the number of conscripts to 4,000 by 2022 aren't realistic.
"Chances are, we won't achieve that," he said. "This number cannot increase on the backs of changed diagnoses or people with criminal backgrounds, or by recruiting the undereducated. This can only grow if the reservists who have completed conscription generate positive opinions in those called up. We are making the effort. I think we will achieve this goal by 2023 or 2024."
Editor: Aili Vahtla