Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso replied to the interpellation concerning the investments for the development of the capacity of the Estonian Defence League (No. 89), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Jaak Madison, Martin Helme, Henn Põlluaas, Mart Helme, Uno Kaskpeit, Raivo Põldaru and Arno Sild on 28 October.
The interpellators noted that, in a addition to the Defence Forces, the Defence League is also a significant developer of the defence capability. Thanks to good training and high motivation, it has been able to create a significant defence and response capability for different crisis situations. In the interpellators’ words, it must be stated however that, in connection with the great number of new members, elementary equipment cannot be guaranteed to new members of the Defence League today. The interpellators wished to know what was going to be done for improving the situation.
Hanso stressed that the Defence League as the national security carpet has an important and central role in our national defence model. “I am very pleased to note that the membership of the Defence League, including the Women’s Voluntary Defence Organization, Home Daughters and Young Eagles, has increased significantly, and hopefully this trend will continue to grow,” the Minister of Defence said. He said that the membership of the Defence League had increased to 24 797 members, that is, by 1185 people, over the first nine months of this year. The number of active members of the Defence League increased to 15 727 persons. This means that the reserve of the territorial defence structure of the Defence League, which is part of the rapid response structure of the Defence Forces, grew potentially by 654 fighters.
Hanso said that the development of the defence capability of Estonia is going on systematically. Equipment for the Defence League is mostly procured on the basis of the Defence Forces budget and through the procurements conducted by the Defence Forces and the Ministry of Defence. On the basis of the procurement plan for the next four years, more than 26 million euro will be allocated for the procurement and maintenance of the equipment needed by the territorial defence units of the Defence League that are part of the rapid response structure of the Defence Forces. In addition to this amount, equipment, weapons and ammunition that has been stored in the warehouses of the Defence Forces already earlier will be granted to the use of the Defence League.
“Larger investments will be directed to the procurement of individual equipment of fighters, bullet proof vests, helmets and night vision devices, and the supplementing of the equipment sets of the units, as well as to the procurement of various military vehicles. In addition, communication and medical equipment, maintenance and safety equipment and other prescribed equipment will be procured in the planning period,” Hanso explained. He added that, in the Defence Forces budget for next year, 15 million euro have been planned for the Defence League units, about half of which will be spent on procurement of ammunition. As to the Defence League budget, the procurement of equipment is planned to be additionally financed from from the budget funds of 2015, that is, the funds that were not used this year, to the extent of ca one million euro, the Minister of Defence noted.
Hanso said that the National Defence Act due to enter into force in January next year and other Acts amended thereby, under which persons who have no duty to serve in the Defence Forces will have the possibility to have a career in the Defence Forces, will certainly allow to further promote the motivation of the members of the Defence League.
The Minister of Defence also replied to the interpellation concerning interference with politics by the Commander of the Defence Forces and the Commander of the Air Force (No. 98).
During the open microphone, Jaanus Karilaid took the floor.
Riigikogu Press Service
Gunnar Paal, 6316351, 51902837
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