Defence policy and related activities, such as territorial defence and comprehensive defence, are considered a matter of national priority and consensus in Estonia since its restoration of independence in 1991. The actual meaning and its content have depended on numerous linguistic and cultural factors. Educational traditions and alliance relations have played an important role as well. In some cases, changes in actual defence policy content first required an ability to change military terminology and outlook. The current study analyses the meaning of territorial defence, comprehensive defence and total defence in official documents and based on focus group interviews among officers of BDCOL and EMA.
This study aimed to offer an in-depth insight into intellectual dilemmas associated with a comprehensive approach to national defence using Estonia as an example to demonstrate that comprehensive approach in itself may not be enough to feel safe and secure. The authors focused on two specific theoretical questions. First, how security threats are determined in Estonia, including the impact of such a phenomenon as macro-securitization? Second, how various levels of comprehensive approach relate to each other in the way that a shared security culture will be created?
In this way, the aim of this article was not only to shake the foundations of national defence in Estonia but also to contribute to the improvement of the current model to ensure that it actually works in practice.
The current study focuses on the Estonian perceptions of security and on the defence situation both globally and locally. The dynamic results of the public opinion surveys on security risks conducted in Estonia over the last 10 years (2006-2016) will be presented. In addition, to understand whether some of the security risks could be over- or underestimated in Estonia, these results will be compared with the views expressed recently by the World Economic Forum, particularly the Global Risks Report 2016. Also, the arguments why some topics have played or are currently playing key role in the Estonian security perception will be presented and discussed.