In terms of national defence and security, Estonia’s priorities focus on strengthening our security’s two pillars—national defence capabilities and international defence cooperation. This means building up a modern, credible and equipped national defence force, and ensuring a plausible NATO deterrence posture and visible enhanced Allied presence. We must continue NATO’s adaptation to an increasingly unpredictable and challenging security environment. Today we face two simultaneous challenges in the East and in the South—both challenging the Euro-Atlantic security architecture.
The Russian ruling elite is convinced that, in communication with the West, they can only defend their interests from a position of aggression and power, which includes a constant demonstration of military threats. The policies adopted by the current Russian government will remain the greatest factor threatening the military security of the Baltic Sea region in the near future. Russia’s unpredictable and aggressive actions in executing its plans have a profoundly negative effect on the region’s security and this is of course a worrying trend for us. Estonian Information Board, which is the institution responsible for the foreign intelligence, has recently issued an annual report „International Security and Estonia” which gives a broader vision of the topic.
Estonia reached the guideline of spending 2% of GDP on defence already in 2012 and has since based our defence planning in compliance with this budget outline. According to National Defence Development Plan, the fundamental principle is to produce military units that are able to respond rapidly when necessary. With regard to land operations, the main focus during the development plan’s planning period is on establishing rapid-response infantry brigades, developing armoured manoeuvre capability and strengthening anti-tank defences. The Defence Forces shall achieve the capability of carrying out special operations throughout the country’s territory with short advance notice. The contribution to foreign operations carried out by NATO, the European Union and/or coalitions of the willing will continue in order to achieve Estonia’s security policy objectives. Estonian government has also allocated additional finances in addition to the 2% defence spending pledge for the host nation support of the Allied forces. With the extra finances, our aim is to guarantee that the presence of Allies is a win-win situation for all.
Minister of Defence of the Republic of Estonia