At yesterday’s cabinet session, the Government of the Republic decided to allocate additional resources from the state budget for the construction of two additional barracks for Allied units.
According to the decision taken at the June meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence, the presence of Allied units in Estonia will increase next year, when a battalion sized combat group will be stationed here. In connection with that decision, we need to build two additional barracks, and there may also arise a need to supplement the storage and maintenance capabilities for combat equipment.
Minister of Defence Hanso stated that the construction of the two barracks at Tapa must begin as soon as possible, perhaps even this year, in order to ensure the best possible host nation support for the Allied Forces arriving to reinforce our defence.
“We just opened a barracks with capacity for 300 Allied soldiers at Tapa; however, the planned unit is comprised of 800-1000 men, which means that we need to build additional barracks,” said Hanso. “Proper living and serving conditions are the least that we can provide our Allies in exchange for their support. Our goal is to ensure exemplary conditions for living as well as training.”
The maximum estimated cost of the two barracks is over EUR 10 million. The need for additional storage and maintenance opportunities for combat equipment will become clear in cooperation with our Allies, after they specify the needs of the sub-units being stationed here.
Allied ground forces will continue to remain stationed at the Tapa armed forces campus, allowing for substantive cooperation with the 1st Infantry Brigade, use of the central training area to carry out training with armoured equipment, and the placement of Allies together. In addition, the Tapa armed forces campus has more than enough room available for expansion.
If the costs of the construction of the barracks were to be covered from the designated defence budget of 2% of GDP, it would mean that the objectives for developing independent defence capabilities associated with long-term plans would not be achieved. At the same time, when it comes to building national defence it is of critical importance that government approved developments in defence capability called for in the long-term development plan be completed on time and at the prescribed level of quality, thus ensuring the strength of Estonia’s independent defence capability.
At the 19 February 2015 cabinet meeting, the Government of the Republic approved additional financing until 2019 for the construction of infrastructure objects in the total amount of EUR 40.6 million outside of the 2% GDP specified defence budget, in order to facilitate the presence of Allies. The sum was used to build one barracks at Tapa, and will be used to establish the NATO staff element building in Tallinn, to develop armoured equipment training opportunities at the Defence Force’s central training area and to supplement the storage and maintenance conditions for combat equipment.