Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa) has appointed Kusti Salm, director of the Defence Investments Department of the Ministry of Defence, the next director of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI).
Salm will take over as director of the ECDI on July 23, following the conclusion of the three-year term of office of incumbent director Col. Rauno Sirk, spokespeople for the ministry told BNS. Sirk will continue serving in the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) under a rotational arrangement.
According to Luik, the organization of defense-related tenders has to keep up with the increased volume and needs of the EDF. The necessary equipment has to be delivered on time and in accordance with needs, plans and budgets, he added.
The minister also thanked the outgoing director for his outstanding work.
"Continued development of the center is crucial to ensure that the EDF will be provided high-quality services in terms of both tenders as well as the construction and maintenance of infrastructure," Sirk said, stating that the EDF's rapid development is the main reason why the volume of investments has grown significantly since 2017. "We have been devising plans for the center's development for a while, and our ambitions as well as action plans have been mapped out. The biggest challenge the new director will face is combining defense planning and investments into one system."
"The purpose of the ECDI is to ensure that each euro invested in national defense, each tender and infrastructure object, generates as much military capacity for Estonia as possible," Salm said. "Col. Sirk ill be handing over a well-established and efficiently managed institution."
Salm has worked at the Ministry of Defence for 12 years. In this time, he has managed the planning of defense investments as well as worked at NATO Headquarters in the field of armament cooperation.
He also has extensive international experience, as during Estonia's presidency of the Council of the EU, he led negotiations on the establishment of the European Defence Fund, as a result of which the EU will invest a total of €13 billion in the development of member states' armaments over the next seven years.
The ECDI's primary field of work is supporting Estonia's national capability development with professionally organized procurements, infrastructure development, and administrative activities and investments. The center organizes over €200 million worth of procurements per year, and is one of the largest state managers of real estate. The ECDI employs 132 people.
Editor: Aili Vahtla