Memories from the Annals of an Estonian National Defence Education Institution (1992–1994)


  • Endel Hirvlaane



The year 2017 will witness the 25th anniversary of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences. Along with other specialties, the doors of the Academy were re-opened for young men and women to give them an opportunity to study in the field of military sciences. The possibility of commencing military higher education studies in the newly independent Estonian Republic was a profound experience. Many of the young people who began their studies during that time have become senior officers in the top leadership echelons of the Estonian Defence Forces. The founder and the first commanding officer of the Defence College at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences Dr. Endel Hirvlaane has written down his memories of the early years of the school, including its challenges, joys and sorrows. Owing to his remarkable management and teaching experiences, the military researcher Hirvlaane was assigned the task of initiating the administrative and practical work for the Defence College, and entrusted with finding the first academic teaching staff, preparing the curricula, translating and composing the teaching materials, ensuring the organization of study and practice, resolving the everyday problems of the cadets and much more. His memories are an authentic glimpse into the everyday life of a military educational institution in 1992–1994, and help the reader to better understand how and in what manner the Estonian Defence Forces have developed in over a quarter of a century. The article also provides a thorough and a nuanced insight into the trends of our national defence at that time, including the military education system and the cooperative defence partnerships with foreign countries. The detailed and fact-based, but also general description of the college’s early years is brought to life through the author’s personal reminiscences and experiences during one of the most exciting and ground-breaking periods in Estonian history as the newly independent country sought to re-establish its own officer corps. These memories are undoubtedly a significant contribution to a more in-depth history to be written in the future.



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