Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces

The Commander of the Defence Forces is the Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces and the national defence organisations.

Commander of the Defence Forces
Kaitseväe juhataja
Flags of Estonia - Commander-in-Chief.svg
Standard of the Commander of the Defence Force
Martin Herem.png
Lieutenant General Martin Herem

since 5 December 2018
Estonian Defence Forces
Member ofHeadquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces
SeatTallinn, Estonia
NominatorMinister of Defence (Estonia)
AppointerGovernment of Estonia
Term lengthFive years (with option for another two years)
First holderGeneral Johan Laidoner

List of Commander of the Defence ForcesEdit

No. Portrait Commander of the Defence Force Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
1Laidoner, JohanGeneral
Johan Laidoner
23 December 1918
1 December 1924
12 March 1934
26 March 1920
8 January 1925
22 June 1940
1 year, 94 days
38 days
6 years, 102 days
Total: 7 years, 234 days
2Jonson, GustavMajor General
Gustav Jonson
22 June 19403 September 194073 days 
Soviet occupation
3Maide, JaanMajor General
Jaan Maide
18 September 194424 October 194436 days 
Soviet rule
4Einseln, AleksanderGeneral
Aleksander Einseln
1 May 19934 December 19952 years, 217 days 
5Kert, JohannesLieutenant General
Johannes Kert
23 January 199630 June 20004 years, 159 days 
Defence League
-Ermus, AarneLieutenant colonel
Aarne Ermus
(born 1966)
30 June 200021 September 200083 days 
6Kõuts, TarmoVice Admiral
Tarmo Kõuts
(born 1953)
21 September 200014 November 20066 years, 54 days 
Border Guard
7Laaneots, AntsGeneral
Ants Laaneots
(born 1948)
5 December 20065 December 20115 years, 0 days 
8Terras, RihoGeneral
Riho Terras
(born 1967)
5 December 20115 December 20187 years, 0 days 
9Herem, MartinLieutenant General
Martin Herem
(born 1973)
5 December 2018Incumbent3 years, 242 days 

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ First term served during Estonian War of Independence. Made commander-in-chief twice under martial law. Eventually removed from position on 22 June 1940, after Soviet Union occupied Estonia.
  2. ^ Served as commander-in-chief following the forced resignation of Johan Laidoner following the Soviet Union's demand that the Red Army establish military bases and station 25,000 troops on Estonian soil for the duration of the war. Executed by Soviet authorities in 1942.
  3. ^ Served as commander-in-chief in the period between the German occupation and second Soviet occupation. Captured by the Soviets on 24 October 1944.
  4. ^ Resigned on 4 December 1995 due to a disagreement with the Minister of Defence.
  5. ^ Was requested to make a resignation by the head of state, head of government and the Minister of Defence, but refused.[1] Impeached by the President of the Republic on 30 June 2000.[2]
  6. ^ Requested to be resigned to enter politics.


  1. ^ "Kindral Johannes Kert jääb kaitseväe juhiks". Archived from the original on 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  2. ^ "Johannes Kert: "Ma isegi ei tea, kes just praegu olen!"". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  3. ^ "Johannes Kerdi vabastamine ja Aarne Ermuse nimetamine". Retrieved 2018-01-19.