The Government of the Republic confirmed its decision to reorganise the structure and composition of the Ministry of Defence, in connection with which the size of the leadership of the Ministry will be reduced, including the elimination of the position of Under Secretary for Defence Investments.
During the course of the changes three different departments within the Ministry will be merged into a single department – the Defence Investments Department. The Finance Department will also be eliminated. Its tasks will be divided between other departments and the Defence Forces.
Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso explained that he made the decision to thin the management of the field of defence at a time when the area of government as a whole is growing, in order to consolidate efforts in the development of national defence.
“The purpose of the reorganisation is to reduce the level of bureaucracy within the area of government,” said Hanso. “As Minister, I cannot permit excessive expenditures to prop up fragmented structures and activities at a time when the development of national defence, in connection with the escalation of the security situation, is especially critical.”
These changes will result in the structure of the Ministry of Defence having three Undersecretaries in place of the current four, with the number of Department Directors decreasing from 19 to 15. The number of employees at the Ministry of Defence will be cut by approximately 30, with their posts and places of employment being transferred to the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments and the Defence Forces.
In connection with the formation of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments within the area of government of the Ministry of Defence, all procurements and infrastructure related assignments will be transferred to the new centre at the beginning of 2017. Therefore, posts related to those activities will be transferred out of other authorities, leaving those authorities with the opportunity to focus more on their primary activities.
The accounting for the area of government of the Ministry of Defence shall be consolidated into the accounting department operating within the Support Command of the Estonian Defence Forces.
Changes shall enter into forces as of 1 January 2017.
In addition, the Government also approved the amendments to the Statutes of the Defence Forces in connection with the Act of 15 June, which amends the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act, pursuant to which the Military Intelligence Centre will be granted the authority to use undercover agents, and, when operating outside the territory of the Republic of Estonia, the Military Intelligence Centre will have the right to interview persons and conduct covert intelligence, involve a person in secret cooperation and simulate a legal person governed by private law, a structural unit or body or branch thereof.
Provisions were also supplemented in the Statutes of the Ministry of Defence, so that the Minister’s regulations could also be issued electronically.