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Estonia Military

The military of Estonia is based upon the Estonian Defence Forces (Kaitsevägi) which is the name of the unified armed forces of the republic with Maavägi (Army), Merevägi (Navy), Õhuvägi (Air Force) and a paramilitary national guard organisation Kaitseliit (Defence League).

The Estonian National Defence Policy aim is to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land, territorial waters, airspace and its constitutional order. At the moment the main strategic goals are to be able to defend the country's interests and development of the armed forces which would be ready to be interoperability with the other armed forces of NATO and European Union member states and also their capability to participate in NATO missions.

The current national military service (ajateenistus) is compulsory for men between 18 and 28, and conscripts serve 8-month to 11-month tours of duty depending on the army branch they serve in. Estonia has retained conscription unlike Latvia and Lithuania and has no plan to transition to a contract armed forces.

In 2008 annual military spending will reach 1.85% of GDP, or 5 billion kroons, and will continue to increase until 2010, when a 2% level is expected to be reached.

As of January 2008, the Estonian military had almost 300 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of various international peacekeeping forces, including 35 Defence League troops stationed in Kosovo; 120 Ground Forces soldiers in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan; 80 soldiers stationed as a part of MNF in the Iraq; and 2 Estonian officers in Bosnia-Herzegovina and 2 Estonian military agents in Israel in Golan Heights. The Estonian Defence Forces have also previously had military missions in Croatia from March till October 1995, in Lebanon from December 1996 till June 1997 and in Macedonia from May till December 2003. Estonia participates in the Nordic Battlegroup and has announced readiness to send soldiers also to Sudan to Darfur if necessary, creating the very first African peacekeeping mission for the armed forces of Estonia.


Military branches
Estonian Defence Forces: Land Force, Navy, Air Force, Volunteer Defence League (Kaitseliit, KL) (2009)

Military service age and obligation
obligation for compulsory service ages 16-60, with conscription "likely" ages 18-27; service requirement 8-11 months (2009)

Manpower available for military service
males age 16-49: 306,273
females age 16-49: 317,852 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
males age 16-49: 216,483
females age 16-49: 260,408 (2009 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
male: 7,583
female: 7,111 (2009 est.)

Military expenditures
2% of GDP (2005 est.)




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