Armed Forces

Lithuania Goes Back To Conscription - Permanently

Lithuania reactivates conscription in a permanent manner. Dalia Grybauskaite, the Lithuanian President, has just ratified a Relevant Act.  

Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania, has signed an Act which creates permanent conscription duty, and so called “mixed” army model. The army would consist of both professional soldiers, as well as of personnel acquired through conscription. According to the governmental data, the compulsory recruitment is endorsed by 68 percent of the whole society. 75% would agree if a relative would be called in order to report for duty.

The changes implemented by the ratified document are going to become active starting from 1st September. Conscription duty has been in force in Lithuania until 2008. Then it was replaced by a professional model, even though last year, amidst the security concerns caused by the annexation of Crimea and provocations by Moscow, conscription has been temporarily restored for the period of following 5 years. The new document means that conscription is going to be reintroduced permanently.

Costs of Security

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been increasing the defence expenditure as a result of the Ukrainian crisis. In case of Lithuania, defence expenditure constitutes an amount equivalent to more than 1.4% of GDP this year. Back in 2013, corresponding indicator was defined by a value below 1%. Vilnius plans to achieve the level of 2% of GDP by 2018, with 1.7% of GDP expenditure to be reached next year.

Moreover, Lithuania has created a quick reaction component involving 2500 soldiers. Selected elements of that component are to be ready for operational activities in 2 hours, upon receiving the order. Furthermore, the army is expected to be quantitatively expanded. Second general military brigade is also beginning to take its shape.

Lithuania also began to create a number of modernization initiatives, including procurement programmes concerning the Polish Grom MANPADS, Germman Boxer APCs and PzH 2000 self propelled howitzers. Additionally, Vilnius has also initiated a programme, the aim of which is to acquire Javelin anti-tank weapon systems. The Lithuanians have also decided to open negotiations concerning the potential acquisition of the NASAMS air defence system.