President Ilves Visits Spring Storm Military Exercise
"The young men who are completing their mandatory military service have been good students, as always, while the reservists have again proven the support of society for national defence," said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves while visiting the annual large-scale training exercise "Kevadtorm" (Spring Storm). The head of state learned about the activities of the Combat Service Support Battalion and visited the Reserve Battalion, which is on hand to form a defence, as well as staffs of Defence League units that are comprised of reservists and Defence League members.
"I am pleased to see the Defence Forces getting better year after year; young and modern officers and conscripts are capable and willing to learn," acknowledged President Ilves. "At the same time, I am impressed by the willingness to defend that is demonstrated by the reservists who find the opportunity to take part in Spring Storm at both their own initiative and with the support of their employers."
A total of 4 800 people, including 1 600 reservists, 400 of whom were Defence League members, are taking part in the largest training of the Defence Forces which is running from 3-19 May. The Scouts Battalion is playing the role of the enemy, and they are commanding a 200-strong Latvian infantry company and 40 soldiers from the reconnaissance platoon of Lithuania, which are taking part in the Spring Storm for the first time. The Cyber Defence Unit of the Defence League is also participating in the training exercise for the first time. "We are grateful to the Defence Forces Command for the invitation to take part in this exercise," Cyber Defence League chief Lt. Tanel Meiel said. "First of all we want to describe and confirm our command procedures and focus on the decision-making process," he said.
Estonia's commitment to smartly organised national defence has been noticed and acknowledged by our allies, said President Ilves. He recalled the repeated assurance of high NATO officials and officers: the model of the Estonian Defence forces – compulsory military service, reserve army and professional units – has proven to be working.
The President of the Republic, as the highest commander of national defence, was accompanied at the Spring Storm exercise by Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu, Commander of the Defence Forces Brigade General Riho Terras, and Commander of the Army Colonel Indrek Sirel.
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