Lithuania: Volunteers Report For Duty. No Forced Conscription?
2200 volunteers reported for military duty in Lithuania, as the Delfi outlet reports. Considering the fact that increasing the number of soldiers by 3000 is planned this year, this means that even though mandatory military service has been reintroduced, the volunteers are going to constitute the majority of the new recruits.
According to Delfi, Juozas Olekas, the Lithuanian Minister of Defence, claimed that 2200 volunteers have already reported for duty. Olekas noted that, until the moment when the training starts, even a higher number of volunteers are expected, reaching even 3 thousand candidates.
In this situation, the Lithuanian authorities could resign from mandatory conscription, even though such solution is possible to implement, thanks to the legal regulations adopted by the Lithuanian parliament in March this year. It is planned that training for the conscripts is going to be organized for at least 5 subsequent years, while length of the compulsory military service is to be contained within the period of 9 months.
Reintroducing the general defence obligation is one of the main actions undertaken in order to reinforce the capabilities of the Lithuanian Army. Vilnius is gradually increasing its defence expenditures. Back in 2013 the spending was not that high – it constituted only 0.8% of the Lithuanian GDP. This year, the ratio reached the value of 1.1% of GDP, while next year, the value is to reach 1.46% of GDP. Ultimately, not later than in 2020, the Lithuanian government is willing to spend 2% of GDP within the defence budget.
In the light of the Ukrainian crisis, Vilnius decided to create a quick reaction force component and to acquire the Polish Grom MANPADs, as well as the US-made Javelin ATGW’s. On the basis of an intergovernmental agreement, the Lithuanian Army is also going to acquire 16 German PzH 2000 howitzers, 12 out of which are going to be used operationally. What is more, in the autumn this year, a decision is to be made pertaining the potential selection of a wheeled IFV, in order to replace the track-chassis-based M113 vehicles.