Yesterday, Johannes Kert, the former Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces unexpectedly passed. The Minister of Defence, Kalle Laanet, and the staff of the Estonian Ministry of Defence commemorate Johannes Kert as a true Estonian officer, who viewed the defence of the Estonian Republic as a whole - from education in the Estonian language to military defence.
“The contribution of Lieutenant General Johannes Kert in developing national defence was all-encompassing, from his career path in the Estonian Defence Forces and the Estonian Defence League to developing national defence policies in the Ministry of Defence and the Riigikogu,” said Laanet. “I met him only yesterday and upon leaving, I said to him ‘See you soon, Sir!” - now this meeting will have to wait,” said Laanet.
Johannes Kert advised the Ministry of Defence regarding cyber security, the manning of the armed forces, the development of the Estonian Defence League, the personnel policies and assembly in the governing area of the Estonian Ministry of Defence. Kert also analysed issues regarding the assembly of the Estonian Military Academy and conscript service, participated in the strategic development of the Estonian Defence League as well as in coordinating defence-related development and research activities.
The Minister of Defence, Laanet, emphasized that Kert was the initiator and leader for the idea of establishing the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, representing it in international management committees and NATO committees. Kert played an important role in establishing and maintaining a defence-related relationship between Estonia and the USA, participating in establishing cooperation between the Estonian Defence Forces and the Maryland National Guard, and has been an esteemed advisor to this day. The collaboration with Maryland has also developed into an extensive and trustworthy cyber security cooperation between Estonia and the USA.
Lieutenant General Johannes Kert was the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces in 1996-2000, the Commander of the Estonian Defence League in 1993-1996 and the Commander of Land Forces in 2001-2002. Thereafter, he became the Estonian military representative to NATO. Johannes Kert worked as an advisor in the Ministry of Defence and was assigned to the Riigikogu XIII and XIV, and was a member of the National Defence Committee.
Johannes Kert has been awarded with several Estonian and foreign decorations, like the Order of the Cross of the Eagle (II class), White Cross of the Estonian Defence League (I class), Cross of Merit of the Ministry of Defence (I class), Distinguished Service of the EDF, Order of Merit of the Estonian Defence Forces, Merit Medal of the Defence League Special Class, Gold Cross of the Officer of Land Forces, Cross of the Estonian Reserve Officers’ Assembly (gold), Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion of Finland, Order of Merit of Latvian Ministry of Defence, CISM Order of Merit Grand Night etc.
The Ministry of Defence commemorates the meritorious officer by lowering national flags. The Estonian Defence Forces have established a condolence book.