Minister of Defence Jüri Luik named Kusti Salm, Director of the Ministry’s Defence Investments Planning Department, as the next Director of the Centre for Defence Investment.
Kusti Salm will take up the post on 23 July, when the three-year term of office of the current Director, Colonel Rauno Sirg, ends. Through the process of rotation, Colonel Sirk will continue to serve in the Defence Forces.
According Minister of Defence Jüri Luik the organisation of procurements in the field of defence procurement must keep up with increased volumes and the needs of the Defence Forces. ‘The necessary supplies and equipment must arrive as needed, as planned, in a timely manner and within the prescribed budget,’ said Luik. The Minister thanked Colonel Rauno Sirk for a job well done.
‘In order to ensure that the Defence Forces receives quality services in the fields of procurement, infrastructure construction as well as maintenance, it is essential that the development of the Centre continues,’ said Colonel Sirk, according to whom the rapid development of the Defence Forces is the primary reason that the volume of investments has increased significantly in comparison with 2017. ‘We have been preparing further development plans for the Centre for some time, and ambitions, along with the development plans, are in place. The biggest challenge facing the new director will be the coupling of defence planning and investments into a single system,' said Sirk.
‘It is the goal of the Centre for Defence Investments to ensure that each euro invested in national defence, each procurement and infrastructure object, would bring Estonia as much military capability as possible,’ said Kusti Salm. ‘Colonel Sirk is handing over an agency that was launched well and effectively managed,' added Salm.
Kusti Salm has worked at the Ministry of Defence for 12 years. During that time he has led defence investment planning and worked at NATO’s headquarters in the area of armaments cooperation.
Salm has a great deal of international experience. During Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, he led the negotiations to create the European Defence Fund, as a result of which the European Union will be investing EUR 13 billion into weapons development by Member States over the next 7 years. Under the leadership of Salm, a NATO cyber training field was established in Estonia and a pan-European unmanned land vehicle development project was launched.
Kusti Salm is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Tartu, has improved himself professionally in the field of business management, in Holland, and through armaments cooperation courses, in France. He completed conscript service as a gunner in the Tapa Artillery Battalion.
He began working at the Centre for Defence Investments on 1 January 2017. The task of the Centre is to carry out procurements in the field of defence, along with infrastructure planning, development and administration. The creation of the Centre freed the Defence Forces from non-military tasks and brought all procurement activity, as well as property development and administration, under a single command.
The current volume of procurements being carried out by the Centre is more than EUR 200 million per year, and the Centre is also one of the largest property managers among Estonian state authorities. The Centre employs 132 people.