Leo Kunnas (born November 14, 1967) is an Estonian former military officer and a science fiction writer.
Kunnas was born in Kliima village, Võru Parish. After graduating from the Finnish National Defence Academy 1994, Kunnas was the commander of the Defence Forces Battle School (Meegomäe, Võru). He was also the first commander of the Estonian Military Academy 1997-1999 (located in Tallinn at that time).In 2003-2007, he was the chief of the Department of Operations (J3) of the Estonian Defence Forces General Staff, holding the rank of Lieutenant colonel. After graduating from US National Defence University (Norfolk, Virginia) he served 2005 as a staff officer in Operation Iraqi Freedom in MND-Baghdad 3.BCT.Kunnas resigned from active duty in autumn 2007. The reason for his resignation was the issue of change of Estonian constitution proposed to the parliament by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.After his resignation, he has defended the following views in numerous articles:
Changing the Estonian Constitution would be a serious mistake. Abolishing the President's role as Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces and giving the role to the Minister of Defense is dangerous. This change would not serve the civilian control over the Estonian Defence Forces, but would give the MOD officials unlimited power over the Estonian Defence Forces and would politicize the officers' and NCO corps.
Estonia should be ready to defend herself with a well-trained reserve-based army inside the NATO framework. The weak point of Estonian NATO membership is the lack of any military plans to defend the Baltics, which means that albeit help will eventually come (he is not arguing over Article 5), Estonia would be occupied without credible self-defence. He is referring to the 2003 RAND research, The Baltic States and NATO Membership.
Russia is the most serious geopolitical factor for Estonian security which will not be forgotten in defence planning. He argues that Estonia should plan for the worst-case scenario, and this is the reason for the rise in the Estonian reserve component up to 40,000 reservists (the wartime operational structure is currently at around 16,000).
The Estonian MOD has done nothing to develop the credible self-defence capability and is focusing only on international missions.The reaction from the Estonian society and government circles is dualistic in nature. On the one hand, Lt. Gen (Ret.) Johannes Kert thinks that Leo Kunnas is one of the very few people in Estonia who has analytical and very clear vision of the Estonian defence issues. Estonian MOD officials (and especially ex-minister of defence Jürgen Ligi) are strongly against Kunnas' views.