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New beginning

On 17 February 1990, the Estonian Defence League was re-established in Järvakandi, by the initiative of the people and under the continuing conditions of Soviet occupation. On 28 April 1992, the Estonian Defence League was included into the staff of the Estonian Defence Forces.

Today, the Estonian Defence League is comprised of 15 district units, which in most part coincide with the borders of Estonian counties. The Estonian Defence League has ~ 18,000 members. Together with its affiliated organisations – the Women’s Home Defence, Young Eagles and Home Daughters – there are more than 29,500 members.

The Estonian Defence League unites loyal citizens who wish and are able to work voluntarily and without receiving any remuneration for protecting the internal order of the state and improving the sense of security.

According to the Estonian Defence League Act they co-operate with the police, local governments, border guard, rescue board and fire-fighters. Members of the Estonian Defence League have participated as a show of support in police operations, maintained order in mass events, taken part in liquidating natural disasters, such as forest fires, have helped to look for people, etc.

In addition to direct military training, the Estonian Defence League gives its members many other skills and experiences necessary in life. People have thus acquired paramedic skills in the training groups, which they have used on several occasions while saving fellow citizens from life-threatening situations. Reserve officers and reserve non-commissioned officers are offered to the opportunity, during free time from their jobs, to apply and improve the leadership skills they have already acquired as commanders of units or as specialists in narrower areas of specialisation.

As the training of platoon and section commanders and functional specialists was, until recently, rather scattered within the Estonian Defence League, then the Estonian Defence League School, launched in 2012, carries out training courses and further training for volunteer members of the organisation in a more centralised manner and under a common standard for the staff.

The Estonian Defence League co-operates with many sister organisations in neighbouring countries, such as ground forces units in Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Estonian Defence League also cooperates very closely with the Maryland National Guard in the United States.