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Lithuanian contingent is getting ready for standby for the Nordic European Union Battle Group


On September 25 military personnel of the Lithuanian Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion held headquarters deployment exercise near the city of Alytus.


Among the training audience there was a contingent formed by the Battalion’s “uhlans” preparing to conduct a standby for the European Union’s rapid reaction force, a European Union Battle Group (EUBG), next year.


The Lithuanian contingent as well as military units from Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Finland and Sweden will be assigned to the Nordic EU Battle Group (NBG 15) that will be completing a six-month standby from January 1, 2015.


The NBG 15 will be led by Sweden and include approximately 2.4 thousand military personnel.


The Lithuanian contingent will carry out tasks of force protection. In case a decision was made to use the NBG 15 in an area of operations, the Lithuanian unit will be ready to escort and protect Very Important Persons, to patrol, control riots, and to complete other combat tasks side by side with other members of NBG 15.


Lithuania will commit the total of 44 soldiers to the multinational European Union’s military unit for the first half of 2015: along with the force protection unit formed by the Grand Duchess Birutė Battalion, Lithuanian soldiers will be detached for standby for the NBG 15 staff, military police, repairs, medical and other support units.


Throughout the standby period members of the assigned high readiness Lithuanian contingent will serve in their permanent bases in Lithuania and will deploy into the area of operations in case NBG 15 is activated within 5-10 days and will be sustainable for 30-120 days.


Readiness of the Lithuanian contingent has been planned to be assessed at a certification exercise on October 13-19 while NBG 15 in its full composition will be certified at an exercise in Sweden in November.


In the second semester of last year roughly 120 Lithuanian soldiers coming mainly from the King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion were also conducting standby for a European Union Battlegroup formed along with the United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands and Sweden.


European Union Battle Groups are multinational EU rapid reaction forces proving the European Union with a capability to respond to crises rapidly. Similarly to the NATO Response Force, the EU Battle Groups are formed by military contingents committed by member states on a half year rotating basis. One Battle Group includes approximately 2 thousand members.


The first European Union Battle Group reached the Initial Operational Capability in 2005. Since reaching the Full Operational Capability of the Battle Group Concept in early 2007, two BGs have been held on standby every half-year which allows the European Union to remain capable of completing two different operations at a time.


Photo credits: Gaiva Veniukevičienė.

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