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Lithuania will continue assigning soldiers to rapid response forces, the number will increase

Meeting its international commitments, Lithuania obliges to continue deploying to multinational operations next year Lithuanian military units assigned to the NATO Response Force (NRF), UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), and military and civilian personnel of the National Defence System serving at NATO and EU headquarters. It is approved by the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of November 6 on the maximal number of soldiers and civilian personnel assigned to military forces who are assigned to NATO Rapid Response Force or serve in NATO or European Union military headquarters, as well as military units of Lithuania assigned to the Joint Expeditionary Force, participating in multinational operations in 2019-2020.

On the basis of the said Resolution, the biggest number of soldiers and civilian personnel of the National Defence System that can be assigned to the NATO Response Force in 2019 is 390, and up to 130 – to NATO-EU headquarters. The total number of soldiers and civilians assigned to military forces will be up to 520. A shallow-water mine countermeasures team, mine countermeasures vessel, special forces task group, infantry company, staff officers, military medics, EOD platoon, movement control team, water purification unit, military police platoon, national support element, etc., are planned to be assigned to the NATO Response Force in 2019.

In 2020 the number will grow to up to 670. Up to 540 military and civilian personnel of the National Defence System are planned to be assigned to the NATO Response Force, and up to 130 – to NATO/EU headquarters. A headquarters and supply vessel, special forces task group, two infantry companies (one of them to serve in composition of the BALTBAT Baltic Battalion), staff officers, CBRN defence platoon, forward tactical refuelling team, movement control team, water purification unit, military medics, etc., are planned to be assigned to the NATO Response Force in 2020.

In 2019–2020 an infantry company, up to 190 soldiers, will be assigned to the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force.

The Resolution of the Seimas that expires on December 31, 2018, stipulates that up to 490 soldiers could be deployed to multinational operations in 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2017, and up to 500 – in 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018.

The adopted Resolution will allow Lithuania to fulfil its commitment to the Alliance and the EU properly and on time and to deploy Lithuanian military units assigned to NRF, as well as civilian and military personnel of the National Defence System serving in NATO and EU military headquarters, to a multinational operation in case of necessity as soon as a North Atlantic Council or the European Council adopts a corresponding decision.

Lithuanian Armed Forces units assigned to the JEF would only be deployed to multinational operations based on the United Nations Security Council resolutions, NATO or the EU, or multinational operations in NATO or EU members’ territories only if such a decision would be made by the JEF-leading nation, the United Kingdom, after consultations with and by common assent of other JEF-contributing nations.

The NATO Response Force is formed by capabilities assigned by members of the Alliance that are selected by NATO experts on the basis of readiness level and need. The NATO Response force is subdivided according to the readiness into the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and the initial follow-on force group. The basis of VJTF is formed by France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK, and Turkey. One rotation of the NATO Response Force is 12 months over which the capabilities assigned by NATO members can be sent to a multinational operation is the North Atlantic Council decides so.

Photo credit: Sgt A. Čemerka (soldiers of Algirdas Battalion assigned to the JEF train in the UK)

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