Brunssum, The Netherlands – The visit of Estonian delegation to Joint Force Command Brunssum occurred just after General Farina's enhanced Forward Presence visit to three Baltic States. The subject of eFP was broadly discussed and the Commander JFC Brunssum reiterated his appreciation for the military capacity and capability of Estonian Defense Forces to support the eFP deployment.
Today's discussions in Brunssum revolved around current processes, procedures and plans for the nearest future that concern strategic-level command and Estonian Defence Forces. Since JFC Brunssum will soon take over the lead of NATO Response Force 2018 (NRF18), Estonia's contribution to various NATO structures and next year's schedule of exercises were broadly discussed. Conclusions drawn from the recently concluded Trident Javelin exercise and the NATO Command Structure adaptation were among other topics discoursed in the meeting attended also by the Estonian Military Representatives: Commodore Igor Schwede (to NATO) and Brigadier General Artur Tiganik (to SHAPE).
During the visit, the Estonian ChoD awarded General Farina with Estonian Defence Forces Distinguished Service Decoration. During a short ceremony General Terras said: "In Estonia we celebrate our Armed Forces Day and one of traditions is to recognize contributions from outside of our structure. I thank you, General Farina, for your personal leadership that steered this headquarters onto your current direction and I thank you, and the whole HQ, for your great effort". General Terras added also: "There is also a saying in Estonia: If I know who stands behind me, I'm not afraid to look ahead, and I present you with this medal for your contribution to strengthening Estonian national defence".
The average size of the Estonian Regular Armed Forces in peacetime is about 6000 persons, of whom about half are conscripts. Voluntary Defence League has also about 15000 members. The planned size of the operational (wartime) structure is 60 000 personnel (high readiness reserve is 21 000 personnel).
In peacetime the main tasks of EDF are to monitor and maintain control over airspace, to maintain combat readiness, to train conscripts and develop reserve units, to participate in NATO and UN-led international missions and to provide assistance to civilian authorities in case of national emergency. In crises the main tasks of EDF are to increase readiness levels of units as required, to prepare for transition to wartime structure and to begin partial or total mobilisation as ordered, to integrate units from other ministries and to prepare for assistance from and reception of friendly forces.
During crises or wartime, the main tasks of the Estonian Defence Forces are to defend the territorial integrity of the state; to facilitate military debarking procedures – the arrival and deployment of allied forces by land, air or sea; to control ports and maritime communications; to maintain control over national airspace and facilitate the air defence of strategic assets in co-operation with forces from other countries.
Story by Public Affairs Office JFC Brunssum