On February 10 change of rotation and command ceremony of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group (eFP BG) in Lithuania will be held at the Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment. German Armed Forces Lt Col Peer Papenbroock who has been in command of the NATO eFP BG Lithuania twice will relinquish to Lt Col Sebastian Hebisch. The other part of the ceremony will mark the 4th anniversary of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group deployment in Lithuania. The event is planned to be attended by Minister of National Defence A. Anušauskas, Lithuanian Armed Forces command, foreign ambassadors, defence attachés.
The incoming eFP BG Lithuania Commander Lt Col S. Hebisch comes from the 93rd Panzer Battalion of the German Armed Forces. He will be in charge of the roughly 1,200-strong BG for the next six months. The 9th NATO eFP BG Lithuania rotation will be formed by military personnel and representatives of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway. Germany is the framework nation of the NATO eFP BG Lithuania: it commands the unit and provides the largest contingent.
Deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Groups in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland was a historical decision taken by the NATO Heads of State and Government in July 2016: to step up allied presence by deploying battalion-sized battle groups as the NATO enhanced Forward Presence as of 2017. The high-readiness robust capabilities are weighty contribution of NATO allies to the enhancement of security in the region.
Since the beginning of the deployment in early 2017 over 12 thousand allied soldiers from nine NATO allies – Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, Croatia and France – have already rotated through the eFP to train with the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The NATO eFP BG is training in exercises alongside Lithuanian colleagues in peacetime and it would engage in the defence of Lithuania with national and additionally deployed forces in case of a crisis or conflict.
The NATO eFP BG is integrated into the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, the allies and the Lithuanian Brigade soldiers carry out a training cycle.
The NATO eFP Battle Group comprises the command staff and headquarters company, supply company, three – four tactical companies, different combat support capabilities. The multinational unit can be reinforced if necessary, e.g., for exercises, in case of a threat, etc.