The combat readiness, staff and equipment of the Defence Forces has improved

Toomas Mattson | 2/8/2017 | 1:00 PM

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TALLINN, 8 February 2017 – The National Audit Office is of the opinion that a significant development has occurred in the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces over the last four years in the area of the combat readiness of units, and the staff and equipment of the units of the Defence Forces has improved from 2012-2016. The Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces must start giving more attention to increasing participation in reservist training and reducing the number of people whose compulsory military service is suspended.

The audit confirms that the combat readiness of the Defence Forces has been systematically developed in accordance with the objectives of the National Defence Development Plan 2013-2022. The successful achievement of the established goals and the resulting improvement of the staff and equipment of the Defence Forces has been possible because the existing national defence development plan is realistic (unlike the Military Defence Development Plan 2009-2018) and money has been allocated for its implementation.

The staff and equipment of the war-time structure of the Defence Forces in the equipment classes checked during the audit (weapons, ammunition, means of transport, IT and communication equipment, other special equipment) has improved in almost all units over the last five years. The most important units (according to the National Defence Development Plan 2013-2022) were all equipped well and as a priority as at April 2016.

Conscript and reservist training is largely organised according to the priority of the units set out in the National Defence Development Plan 2013-2022 in order to guarantee that the Defence Forces are adequately staffed. However, guaranteeing that a sufficient number of people pass compulsory military service and take part in reservist training has not been successful.

The problem in the case of compulsory military service is that conscripts are assigned to reserve units earlier than planned, primarily for health reasons. This is why the number of reservists suitable in terms of their training and health is smaller than prescribed for war-time units. The share of conscripts assigned to reserve units early has increased in recent years: it was 11.6% of all conscripts in 2011 and 19.4% in 2015. The number of participants in reservist training is also smaller than planned, but the situation has improved in recent years.

The combat readiness of the units of the Defence Forces is inspected regularly during the annual major training exercises as well as in the course of more narrowly focused inspections of specific units. Training exercises are recognised in the annual plans and the training and rotation plans of the Defence Forces, and they have become inseparable parts of the development of defence capabilities.

The audit revealed that the reporting system has been improved in the last four years and the developed reporting system gives the decision-makers regular overviews of the status of the combat readiness of the Defence Forces. Since this report is prepared manually on the basis of large data tables, preparing it is an unreasonable burden on the resources of the Defence Forces and the reports contain inaccuracies caused by the manual inputting of data. The reporting format does not provide an overview of the progress made in the achievement of the objectives of the National Defence Development Plan 2013-2022. The Ministry of Defence perfected the reporting system and eliminated many of the deficiencies identified during the audit when it prepared the new version of the national defence development plan (for 2017-2026) in 2016.

The Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces agreed with the conclusions and recommendations made in the audit.

PLEASE NOTE! Access to the full text of the audit report is restricted until 2022 and the annexes to the report are confidential. The summary of the audit report, which can be downloaded from the website of the National Audit Office, is public.

Background

1.6 billion euros has been spent on national defence from 2013-2016 (400 million euros per year on average). The defence budget planned for 2017 is 482 million euros. The threshold for planning the defence budget since 2012 is 2% of the gross domestic product. Keeping the defence expenditure at the level of 2% of the gross domestic product makes it possible to keep the staff, operating and investment expenses at a more or less equal level in the defence budget. This means that in addition to salaries and wages, there is enough money for training and acquiring new equipment and weapons for the members of the Defence Forces.

 

2011*

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016**

2017

Defence expenditure
(million euros)

280

339

361.4

383.3

412.2

451.2

482.0

* Expenses actually incurred from 2011-2015
** Expenses planned in the defence budget from 2016-2017

The National Audit Office assessed in the audit:

  • whether the combat readiness of the units of the Defence Forces has been developed according to the objectives of the national defence development plan;
  • whether reporting gives the management of the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces a true overview of the status of the achievement of the objectives set in the national defence development plan

Another aspect inspected during the audit was whether the recommendations made in the 2013 audit of the National Audit Office titled Effectiveness of formation, maintenance and replenishment of resources required for increasing military readiness and mobilisation of Defence Forces from 2009–2012 had been implemented. The audit indicated that the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces have implemented most of the recommendations and some of them are still being implemented.

 

Toomas Mattson
Communication Manager of the National Audit Office
+372 640 0777
+372 513 4900
toomas.mattson@riigikontroll.ee
press@riigikontroll.ee
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  • Posted: 2/8/2017 1:00 PM
  • Last Update: 2/8/2017 4:10 PM
  • Last Review: 2/8/2017 4:10 PM

Estonian servicemen firing a Javelin anti-tank missile. 22 January 2016.

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