Today, upon the recommendation of the Minister of Defence and the Commander of the Defence Forces, the Government of the Republic named Colonel Riho Ühtegi as Commander of the Defence League.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the individual assuming command of the Defence League must possess thorough knowledge and long-term service experience, be familiar with the Defence League, and think strategically.
‘Being the leader of a volunteer military organisation perhaps requires a bit more from its officers than commanding a traditional military unit. Major General Meelis Kiili has done an excellent job and I am convinced that Colonel Riho Ühtegi will assume command, continuing to develop the Defence League consistently, fairly and professionally,’ said Luik.
Riho Ühtegi is one of the founding members of the Defence League, where he also began his career as an officer in 1991.
Colonel Ühtegi has served as the Commander of the Estonian Special Operations Force since 2012. Under his command, the military capability of Estonia’s special operations was established and developed, being highly regarded both at home and abroad.
During the course of his service Colonel Ühtegi has been the Chief of Intelligence Department of the EDF HQ and Land Forces, an instructor at the Estonian Military Academy and the Commander of the Military Intelligence Battalion. He has participated in foreign operations in Afghanistan and served as the Estonian Defence Attaché in Georgia.
In addition to his official assignments, Riho Ühtegi trains national defence instructors at Tallinn University and contributes to the development of tactics for small units within the Defence League.
Riho Ühtegi is a graduate of the University of Tartu School of Law and the Colonels course at the Baltic Defence College.
After seven years of successful service in this position, Commander of the Defence Forces Major General Meelis Kiili will be heading to foreign service.
In accordance with the Estonian Defence League Act, the Defence League is led by the Commander of the Defence League, who is subordinate to the Commander of the Defence Forces. The Commander of the Defence League shall be appointed to and released from the post by the Government of the Republic on the joint proposal of the minister responsible for the area and the Commander of the Defence Forces after hearing the opinion of the Council of Elders.
Colonel Riho Ühtegi will assume his post on 19 July of this year.
Additional information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee