Lithuania's contributions to international and NATO operations began in 1994, but the country did not become a member until 2004. Taking the mission of leading the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Ghowr province of Afghanistan since 2005, Lithuania continues to execute this mission with Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, and Ukraine. The Government of Lithuanian recently approved the strategy that will guarantee the country's continued support to Afghanistan until 2013, by maintaining the current level of military contribution and enhancing civilian efforts. In addition to contributing to the NATO mission in Iraq, Lithuania recently sent a platoon-sized unit together with a Polish-Ukrainian Battalion to support the KFOR mission.
Lithuanian armed forces are responsible for air policing, providing the necessary host nation support for NATO allies in the Baltics. Recently, the North Atlantic Council approved the decision to prolong Baltic Air-policing mission till the end of 2014. The NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States ensures that a single NATO security standard is maintained in their airspace. Colonel Romualdas Petkevicius, Lithuanian National Military Representative at SHAPE HQs says, "For us this mission is of strategic importance. We believe it is a good example of solidarity and effective resource spending. It enables us – the Baltic States – to allocate our resources for the development of capabilities that our Alliance mostly needs in operations."
After its independence was restored in the early 1990s, Lithuania began building its armed forces. Today Lithuania has a modern, well equipped, mobile, deployable,
and - since the suspension of conscription service- professional force. The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of 15,000 active duty personnel, which includes 2,400 civilians, and are supported by 100,000 reserve forces that are concentrated in the National defense volunteer service. Search and rescue is an important function of Lithuanian Armed Forces. It is committed to assist national and local authorities in the event of natural disasters. Lithuania has an Air Force, Navy, and Special Operations forces and recently procured small transport aircraft for the Air Force, mine warfare ships for the Navy, modern communications equipment, and radar systems.
In response to how Lithuanian is aligning itself with NATO's goal to become a more agile and expeditionary force, COL Petkevicius said, "The Alliance has to be ready to meet security challenges of the 21st century. For this reason, we have to continue developing and improving our most advance military tool- the NATO Response Force. Lithuania is a strong believer in that NATO is as strong as its member nations. To this extent, Lithuania always supported NATO's transformation goals and objectives. A number of total 39 NATO force goals has been implemented or are in the process of being implemented as we speak. Lithuania's goal is to achieve sustainability of 10% of it forces in operations outside of the country, with over goal of 50% of forces being deployable."
For more information about Lithuania's military forces contact the National Military Representative for more detailed information.
Phone number +32 6544 6493