Roughly 700 Lithuanian soldiers will be assigned for standby in NATO and EU rapid response forces in 2016

On 1 January 2016 roughly 700 Lithuanian soldiers with designated infantry equipment and vehicles will begin standby for NATO and EU rapid response forces.

Units and soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force, Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, Logistics Command, Deployable Communications and Information Systems Module, Military Police, and Military Medical Service will be on standby for different components of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016. Mine Countermeasures vessel of the Lithuanian Navy, LNV Skalvis (M53), with crew will join also the NATO Response Force in the second semester of 2016.

Lithuania assigned an infantry company of King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion (stationed in Panevėžys) to the NATO Response Force reinforced with an antitank platoon of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Mechanised Infantry Battalion. During the standby Lithuanian military will be assigned to the joint Baltic Battalion, comprised of three companies, assigned by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, one per each, and other personnel.

A company from the Lithuania Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion will also start training for standby and assignments of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) as of the beginning of 2016. The Lithuanian company will be on standby for the UK-led VJFT of the Alliance as part of the Baltic Battalion in 2017.

Another company of Lithuanian soldiers will be on standby for the United Kingdom-led European Union Battle Group (EU BG) in the second semester of 2016 together with soldiers from Finland, Ireland, Latvia and Sweden. The core of the EU BG will be comprised of 4 maneuver infantry units: two British, one Lithuanian, and one from Latvia.

A company of the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion (stationed in Alytus) and a national support element Lithuania will be assigning to the EU BG will make the next largest contribution after the United Kingdom, the lead nation.

Through the standby period all the military personnel will continue serving in their home bases and countries at very high level of readiness and will be ready to deploy within a specified time to the area of assignment in case a decision to deploy multinational forces is made.

NATO Response Force is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational NATO Force. NATO Response Force is concluded from member states’ units assigned to the forces, which are on standby for one year and are ready to deploy to the area of operation within a specified time, if a decision to use the force is taken. NATO Response Force encompasses Land, Air, Sea and Special Forces components. Lithuania has been providing rotations for the NATO Response Force since 2005.

The European Union Battle Groups (EU BG) is a multinational force formed following the model of the NATO Response Force to quickly respond to developing crises. The EU BGs include military units assigned by member states to carry our six-month standbys on a rotating basis. Lithuanian troops carried out six-month rotations for the EU BG in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015.