Estonian Government approves Defence Forces Development Plan 2009-2018

At its session today, the Estonian Government approved the Estonian Defence Forces Development Plan 2009-2018, laying down the main military defence development trends, capability development projects, and the main investments to be made over the next decade.

The Estonian Defence Forces Development Plan 2009-2018 (EDFDP) was developed as a result of close co-operation between the specialists of the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Defence Forces and matches with strategic threat assessment and the capability gaps identified.

EDFDP has specified the development of the following areas as the priority for the next ten years to come: participation in international operations and the development of units and military capabilities, characterised by NATO co-operation capabilities; the development of command, communication, reconnaissance and surveillance systems; the development of Ă„mari Air Base; the establishment of a limited scope medium range mobile anti-aircraft system and the further development of a short range anti-aircraft system; the further development of an infantry brigade at a high level of readiness, incl. the establishment of armoured units (either tanks or infantry combat machines); the further development of anti-tank capabilities; the further development of the Defence League, accompanied by increased funding; improving the command and communication capacities of the Navy and the acquisition of speedboats for the protection of territorial waters and marine surveillance; and the acquisition of transport helicopters.

The Development Plan also assumes an annual increase of the rank of reservists by 125 people. Compulsory military service shall remain the bases for manning the reserve units within today’s scope, using the current 8-11 month model. By the end of the planning period, the wartime operative structure of the Defence Forces is expected to increase from its current strength of 16,000 people to approximately 25,000, plus the units, formed on the bases of the Defence League.

Money-wise, the EDFDP shall assume that the share of the defence budget in the gross domestic product will increase to two per cent by 2010 and remain on this level in future.

The EDFDP will be reviewed every four years. The implementing tools of the EDFDP will be the 4-year Defence Forces Development Plans, reviewed every year.(

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