Estonian Defence Forces » Headquarters  

Renewed: 05.12.2018, 08:46


Headquarters of Estonian Defence Forces

  • Is the highest staff of the military defence of the state of Estonia, its operation is based on the legislation of the Republic of Estonia, decisions of the Parliament and the Government and the Statutes of the Government of the Republic of Estonia.
  • Retains the readiness of the Defence Forces at a level necessary for the attainment of the national defence goals.
  • Gathers information necessary for the defence of the state and makes plans and preparations for military national defence.
  • Monitors and analyses the fulfilment of tasks of the troops, staffs and institutions subordinated to it and, if necessary, provides respective assistance.
  • Participates in the leadership of the Defence Forces in wartime and peacetime in order to ensure internal and external security of the state.
  • Organises the staffing of the Defence Forces, the active service and all aspects of training.
  • Co-operates with the Ministries of the Republic of Estonia, state agencies and local authorities in the areas concerning the national defence tasks put on these institutions.

Leadership of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces

Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm

As of 5 December 2018 the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces is headed by Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm.

The Chief of Staff of the Headquarters commands the Headquarters' staff and the units subordinated to it.


History of the Headquarters

Major General Jaan Soots

The history of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces starts in 1917 when, after the collapse of Czarist Russia, the Staff of the Estonian Division was formed with the permission of the Russian Provisional Government. The staff was established by the experienced officers educated in the Academy of the General Staff Andres Larka and Jaan Soots.

Premises for the division staff were found in a house on the corner of Nunne and Kloostri streets in Tallinn. After the founding of the division, the formation work of the Estonian military units that had already been established by the time became more purposeful and energetic.

In 1918 after the founding of the Republic of Estonia the name of the division staff was changed into the Staff of Estonian Armies. Nikolai Reek was appointed Chief of Staff.

Major General Nikolai Reek

When the War of Independence started, the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armies was formed. The General Staff and the Administrative Agency were subordinated to it. Major Generals Larka and Soots headed these structures successfully throughout the War of Independence.

In 1926 the position of the Chief of Staff was abolished and the General Staff and the Administrative Agency were subordinated directly to the Minister of War. In 1929 the Staff of the Defence Forces was created, which assumed the functions of the abolished General Staff and Administrative Agency. In 1938 the staff was called the Staff of the Armies. When Estonia was occupied in 1940, the staff was abolished.

Chiefs of Staff of the Headquarters

2018-... Veiko-Vello Palm
2016-2018 Martin Herem
2013-2016 Igor Schvede
2011-2013 Peeter Hoppe
2011 Riho Terras
2007-2011 Neeme Väli
2002-2006 Alar Laneman
1999-2002 Aarne Ermus
1997-1999 Ants Laaneots
1991-1994 Ants Laaneots
1939-1940 Aleksander Jaakson
1937-1939 Nikolai Reek
1925-1934 Juhan Tõrvand
1920-1925 Paul-Adolf Lill
1920 Jaan Rink
1917-1920 Jaan Soots

Historical names

From 2009 Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces
1991 -2008 General Staff of the Defence Forces
1937-1940 Staff of the Armies
1929-1937 Staff of the Defence Forces
1924-1929 General Staff
1920-1924 Staff of Estonian Armies
1917-1920 Staff of the Estonian Division

Present time

On 31 October 1991 the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces was set up with the order no. 404-k of the Government of the Republic. The basic documents for the work of the Headquarters were the temporary statutes adopted by the Government of the Republic on 2 December 1991, other national defence legislation, decrees of the Parliament and the Government of the Republic prepared and adopted in 1992-1998.

Since its creation, the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces has used the names of departments, structures and procedures corresponding to those at the staffs of NATO and these are constantly being developed. In 1995 the Navy Staff and the Air Force Staff were created as independent units on the basis of the Navy and Air Force Department of the General Staff. In 2001 the Army Staff was added to the former.


General Department
Organisation of administrative affairs and administration of the Headquarters building.
Strategic Communication Department
Public Affairs, Civil-Military Cooperation and Information Operations activities of the Defence Forces.
Personnel Department - J1
Organisation of human resources work in the Defence Forces.
Operations Department - J3
Defence planning, Military operations planning, Mobilization and Readiness.
Logistics Department - J4
Management of economic activity.
Analysis and Planning Department - J5
Long-term planning, resources projection and development of defence priorities of the Defence Forces.
Training Department - J7
Training and exercise planning of the Defence Forces. 
Budget and Finance Department - J8
Accounting and technical preparation of the budget of the Defence Forces. 

The Building

The house was built in 1925 for a military hospital. The architect was Aleksander Vladovski. As many other Vladovski's buildings, the house at 58 Juhkentali Street is designed as Neo-Classicist, with some elements of late Jugend style. The planning solution involves three wings.

In the Soviet time the building also housed a military hospital. In the 1990s the plot was transferred to the Defence Forces. The building was restored by AS Merko.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at], Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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