The United States of America (hereinafter – the US) is one of Lithuania’s most important strategic partner in the field of defence. On 17 January 2017, Lithuania signed an Agreement on Defence Cooperation with the United States, which establishes a stronger US – Lithuanian partnership and cooperation on defence and security issues. This agreement defines the status of the US Armed Forces in Lithuania. The United States and Lithuania, as members and partners of the NATO Alliance, maintain a strong commitment to mutual defence, as well as to the strengthening of national defence capabilities, in accordance with the commitments expressed by all members of the Alliance.
With the change in the security situation in the region and in Europe in the spring of 2014, the defence cooperation between the United States and Lithuania became much more intensive, and the scope of the US military presence and activities increased. Lithuania seeks to ensure the continued presence of US forces in the country. The United States was the first to send an air defence reinforcement – additional air fighters and forces for a continued presence in the Baltic States. The US troops participate in military exercises and other military cooperation events organized in the Republic of Lithuania. Also they send rotating forces to the Republic of Lithuania under Operation Atlantic Resolve, and carry out other security measures.
The Federal Republic of Germany (hereinafter – Germany) is leading the battle group of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group, which was deployed in Lithuania in 2017. These bilateral relations in the field of defence are regulated by the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Defence concluded between the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1994 and renewed in 2010. It sets out the principles, areas, forms, financial aspects of cooperation, personnel status, dispute settlement, etc. It should be noted that bilateral cooperation with Germany in the field of defence has intensified significantly over the last 5 years. The co-operation was particularly intensified at the 2016 NATO Heads of State and Government meeting in Warsaw, when Germany announced its decision to lead the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group (eFP BG) in Lithuania and the physical deployment of its troops in Lithuania in early 2017. Germany is actively participating in the Baltic Air Policing Mission. Since 2012, Germany has carried out five Air Policing Missions from Zokniai (Lithuania) Air Force Base and six times enhanced Air Policing Missions from Amari (Estonia) Air Force Base.
On 21 February 2019, the Presidents of Lithuania and Poland issued a Declaration on the Strengthening of the Lithuanian–Polish Security Partnership, in which, among other initiatives, it was agreed to establish the Lithuanian–Polish Council of Defence Ministers. The first meeting of the Council took place in Vilnius in January 2020. The meeting identified four priority areas for bilateral military cooperation, with working groups set up in the areas of planning, air defence, maritime surveillance, procurement and maintenance coordination, respectively. In May 2021, the second meeting of the Lithuanian–Polish Council of Defence Ministers took place in Warsaw. During the meeting, in addition to the existing areas of cooperation, it was decided to expand cooperation on cyber security.
Cooperation between the Lithuanian and Polish army units is manifested in regular cooperation between the Lithuanian and Polish land forces, naval forces, air forces and the special operations forces. In order to strengthen NATO’s ability to operate in the region during crises and conflicts and to develop strategic cooperation between Lithuania and Poland in the field of defence, the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade, for training and exercise purposes, are assigned to the NATO Multinational Northeast Division (MND NE), while maintaining the assignment to the German Division. These assignments maximize the ability of the Iron Wolf Brigade to function as part of a higher unit.
The United Kingdom is one of Lithuania’s main strategic partner in the fields of security and defence, both in NATO’s northern flank and in the Baltic Sea region. The country is actively contributing to security in the Baltic region. The British Air Force contingent has already participated in the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States 6 times, the Land Forces continue to lead the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Estonia and have deployed troops in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Poland. This state also assigns an officer to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius and is a member of the NATO Energy Security Competence Center. The United Kingdom is one of the main partners in providing assistance to Ukraine. Together we are members of the multilateral QUINT, the Multinational Joint Commission and the Defence Reform Advisory Council. We work together in the UK-led Joint Forces and Northern Group formats.
Bilateral co-operation is taking place between all types of forces of the United Kingdom and Lithuania. Cooperation in the field of military training is being developed, providing an opportunity for Lithuanian officers to study in British military training institutions. Consultations on cyber security are ongoing. In terms of acquisitions, the latter purchase is a mine-hunting and search and rescue vessel, which will be handed over to the Naval Forces in 2023.