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Lithuanian soldiers continue standby in multinational rapid response forces in 2018

2018.01.02
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In 2018 the total of over 420 Lithuanian soldiers with vehicles and weaponry will continue the standby in multinational rapid response forces –NATO Response Force (NRF), NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and the generated UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).

 

All Lithuanians will be stationed in their homebases and maintain high readiness to deploy as part of the multinational force to the area of operation within a set time in case such a decision is made.

 

Soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force, Special Operations Forces, Logistics Command and the Military Police will be on standby for different elements of the VJTF. In the second semester of 2018 a mine countermeasures ship of the Lithuanian Navy will be assigned to the VJTF.

 

Soldiers of the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, Land Force, J.Vitkus Engineer Battalion, Tactical Refuelling Unit and the Water Purification Unit of the Logistics Command will be on standby in 2018 for NRF. Headquarters and supply ship of the Lithuanian-Latvian Naval Squadron LNS Jotvingis will be on standby for NRF in the second semester of 2018.

 

Lithuanian soldiers will also be assigned to the UK-led JEF established in 2015 and expected to become fully operational this year. The Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion’s Infantry Company will be on standby for the JEF as part of the Danish Battle Group, also, military medics, and a National Support Element are assigned to ensure logistical support.

 

NATO Response Force

 

NATO Response Force is high readiness technologically advanced multinational NATO force. The force is composed of military units assigned by allies and held on standby in their home countries ready to deploy to the area of operation within a set time in case a decision is made to use the units. There are land, air, naval, and special operations forces components in the NATO Response Force. Lithuania has been contributing to the NRF since 2005.

 

Very High Readiness Joint Task Force

 

The VJTF is made of a multinational brigade (roughly 5 thousand troops) consisting of five maneuver battalions supported by air, naval, and special operations forces. With Full Operational Capability reached, two more brigades will be added to the VJTF which would be used as quick reinforcement in case of a full-blown crisis. In case a n order to deploy is issued, the VJTF will be ready to leave at no notice, right after the first warning and indicators of possible threats preceding a crisis and to act as a deterrent preventing further escalation of the crisis. Quick deployment of this rather small but capable unit would be a clear message for any potential aggressor that all 29 members of the alliance will respond militarily to any violation of sovereignty of a NATO member state.

 

The VJTF is generated on a rotational basis. NATO countries assign capabilities to the NRF on a rotational basis every year. Some countries are the lead countries while others are contributing capabilities. The VJTF differs from other NRF components in its capability to respond in a quick and flexible manner: some of the VJTF elements are already to respond at two-day notice, while others – in no longer than 7 days.

 

Joint Expeditionary Force

 

Lithuania is also contributing to the UK-led force established in 2015 and expected to become fully operational this year. The Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion’s Infantry Company is on standby for the JEF as part of the Danish Battle Group, also, military medics, and a National Support Element is assigned to ensure logistical support.

 

The JEF is a pool of high-readiness forces based on NATO concept and standards that can respond quickly to a range of issues in any part of the world and carry out a wide spectrum of operations, including deterrence, combat and humanitarian assistance. The force is capable of conducting operations as a stand-alone force or as part of NATO or the United Nations-led operations. The multinational force is formed by Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway, and since summer 2017 – Sweden and Finland.

 

Lithuania views the JEF as a reliable high readiness military tool that can respond rapidly to security threats. Being a part of the JEF strengthens Lithuania’s military cooperation with all participating countries and particularly the United Kingdom (security and defence cooperation between Lithuania and the UK has significantly intensified over the recent year).

 

Photo credits: Corporal Arnas Čemerka

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