The Estonian government on 8 December created a division as a structural unit of the country’s defence forces, as agreed at the NATO summit in Madrid.
“This is a historic decision, which on the one hand shows the development of our defence forces, but also its integration with NATO,” the Estonian defence minister, Hanno Pevkur, said. “The establishment of a division significantly increases our defence and resilience.”
With the decision, the minister of defence is given the right to appoint a division commander. The appointment is based on the proposal of the head of the defence forces.
The composition of the division includes the 1st and 2nd Estonian infantry brigades, the logistics battalion and signal battalion as well as the allied brigade, which, according to previous agreements, is the brigade designated by the United Kingdom for the defence of Estonia.
“The division creates better opportunities than today for planning and practicing the military defence of Estonia and the wider Baltic region within the framework of NATO. This creates opportunities for the quick use of the forces and capabilities located here and those incoming for reinforcement,” the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Martin Herem, said.
A wartime unit
“The establishment of divisional headquarters and a whole division is a big challenge. To do this, we have to reorganise the current headquarters of the defence forces and some other subdivisions of the defence forces. In the training of the division, we are supported by allies from the United Kingdom and the United States. The United Kingdom has decided to contribute to the division with its units,” Herem noted.
A division is a wartime unit and a permanently operating structural unit, the main task of which is to plan and execute military operations with the units within the composition and temporarily subordinated within its area of responsibility. The division’s operational area covers the entire territory of Estonia.
If necessary, the division can be transferred to the NATO chain of command with the command authority of the commander of the defence forces.