In the Republic of Estonia, the Ministry of Defence and the Minister of Defence as its head are responsible for organising national defence.
In general, the functions of the Ministry include making proposals for planning national defence politics, implementing the planned activities, and the organisation of national defence, which comprises the following:
- to determine the overall guidelines for national defence
- to organise international co-operation in the sphere of national defence
- to arrange the preparation and implementation of mobilisation
- to implement the subsequent record management and training of reservists
- to arrange and finance the activities of the Defence Forces and the Defence League
- to develop the defence industry
- to supervise the activities of the Defence Forces and the Defence League
- to draft subsequent legislation
Structure-wise, the Ministry of Defence is divided into areas of responsibility of four Deputy Undersecretaries.
Figuratively speaking, it can be said that the departments, subordinate to the Deputy Undersecretary for Defence Policy, are developing the vision of the future of Estonian national defence; the area of responsibility of the Deputy Undersecretary for Defence Planning will ‘translate’ the vision into the language of capabilities and budget. The departments that are subordinate to the Deputy Undersecretary for Legal and Administrative Affairs will support all the processes, which take place within the Ministry. The Ministry shall co-ordinate its activities with the Defence Forces and other divisions and the sub-office concerned at the decision-making stage.
The Ministry’s area of responsibility includes:
- the Defence Forces
- the Centre for Defence Investments
- the Defence Resources Agency, which organises recruitment and conscription issues
- the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service
- the educational institutions of the Defence Forces; the Estonian War Museum - General Laidoner Museum, which showcases military history
- Seli Health Centre, which provides rehabilitation services to military personnel.
The authority of the Minister includes supervision over all the divisions and offices for the purposes of lawfulness and expedience.