Ants Laaneots was born on 16 January 1948 in Kilingi-Nõmme, Estonia.
In July 1966, he entered the Higher Military School in Kharkov, Ukraine, and graduated from it in 1970 as an Army Tank Officer. From 1970 to 1978, he served as a platoon leader, company commander, and battalion commander of the 300 th Tank Regiment for the Soviet Army in Ukraine. From 1978 to 1981, Laaneots studied in the Malinovsky Armoured and Mechanized Forces Academy in Moscow. From 1981 to 1987, he was posted to the Soviet-Chinese border in Eastern Kazakhstan. During this assignment he served as the Executive Officer of the 96 th Tank Regiment, two years as the Commander of the 180 th Tank Regiment, and three years as the Deputy Commander-Chief of Staff of the 78 th Armoured Division. From 1987 to 1989, he deployed to Ethiopia where he spent one year as the military advisor to the commander of an infantry division, and a year and a half as the military advisor to the commanding general of an army corps participating in combat activities. Before his resignation from the Soviet Army in September 1991, he served as the Chief of Regional Department of Defence, Tartu in Estonia.
After Estonia regained its independence in 1991, Ants Laaneots served two times as the Chief of the General Staff of the Estonian Defence Forces - from 1991 to 1994, and from 1997 to 1999. From 1994 to 1996 he was in reserve and in 1997 Laaneots was appointed to the position of Inspector General of the Defence Forces . During his second tenure, in 1998, he graduated from the NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy. In 1998, he was promoted to Major General. In 2000, after a year at the course in the Finnish National Defence College, he was appointed the head of the Baltic Defence Research Centre located in Estonia. From September 2001 through December 2006, he was Commandant of the Estonian National Defence College. LTG Ants Laaneots was appointed the Chief of Defence on Dec 5th 2006. In 2008 he was promoted to Lieutenant General.
His main research interests include modern conflicts, conflicts involving small states/nations, development of national defence. Since 1999 he has 48 publications, among others 1 monograph, 3 academic papers published in international journals and 15 other academic papers.
His personal decorations include: from USSR Army – one higher state decoration; and from Estonian Republic - The 2nd class Order of the Cross of the Eagle.
In addition to the Estonian language, LTG Laaneots is fluent in English and Russian.
He is an active member of the Estonian National Defence League and the Rotary Club. He is married to Natalia and has a grown son and a daughter.