Reservists make up most of Estonia’s armed forces
Estonians bravely pledge to defend themselves “in all circumstanses and against all adversaries, no matter how overwhelming”. And most of the country’s armed forces are actually made up of reservists. The small Baltic country of 1,3 million people has an army of merely 3,500 men and women in continous service. So the large corps of dedicated and well trained reservists are indispensable to Estonia’s national defence.
Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm, Head of the Estonian General Staff designate delivered an impressive and very honest and straightforward presentation of the country’s armed forces to the CIOR In-Between-Meeting audience.
14,000 regular reservists represent 60 per cent of Estonia’s wartime stregth
Estonia’s regular reserve forces count 14,000. The national Defence League provides an additional strength of 6,000 reservists. The Defence League is a paramilitary defence organization whose aim is to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area and its constitutional order. The Defence League possesses arms and engages in military exercises. The organization is divided into 15 Defence League regional units, called malevs, whose areas of responsibility mostly coincide with the borders of Estonian counties.
Spends over two per cent of annual GDP on Defence
Estonia is one of few NATO nations that has reached the Alliance’s expressed goal of spending at least two per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence. Steadily climbing over the last several years, the defence budget now amounts to 520 million Euros, which is 2,17 per cent of GDP.
By: Roy Thorvaldsen, CIOR PA Committe Chairman.