The Committee on National Security and Defence of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania held a meeting to hear the presentation on the most recent studies by the Military Academy of Lithuania into the attitudes of Lithuania’s population, young people and soldiers towards military service as well as into the motivation of professional military soldiers and conscripts called up to initial mandatory military service.
Vytautas Bakas
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

It is noteworthy that politicians have made significant efforts to ensure proper national defence and readiness of citizenry for national defence not only through responding to the security situation and amending the legislation that governs the national defence system, but also by ensuring adequate defence funding to finance the supply of necessary armament and the provision of social guarantees to servicemen, thus making armed services ever more attractive for people. Political parties represented in the Seimas were unanimous on matters pertaining to national defence and greater defence spending which increased 2.5 times over the last years.

The study into the motivation has nevertheless demonstrated that still greater efforts are required to implement the decisions, which have already been adopted by politicians.

‘Over the last few years, the armed forces of Lithuania have undergone radical changes. We have finally brought our armed forced in conformity with the European and NATO standards. The state has definitely been making significant efforts to render service in the armed forces more attractive. The authorities have been constantly increasing the budget for the national defence system and taking care of welfare of servicemen. It is obvious, however, that the efforts have not been sufficient yet,’ Vytautas Bakas said.

The politician also took note that servicemen continued to complain about food quality. Some were dissatisfied with the footwear, while others were not happy about some parts of military equipment and devices.

Vytaustas Bakas underlined that the Committee, having heard the information on the surveys, identified some clear areas which should have been subject to faster changes and which could noticeably increase civic engagement in preparation for national defence and motivation of servicemen. Mr Bakas believes that the necessary resources have already been provided; the leadership of the national defence and armed forces of Lithuania must therefore respond by making rapid solutions.

The Chair of the Committee was surprised to find out ‘how many servicemen complain about food or are unhappy about the quality of everyday objects, such as boots. Over the last couple of years the state has ensured that all necessary conditions and funding for addressing those problems are in place. The results of the studies must be handled with responsible care. Such factors, as uncomfortable kit must receive greater attention from the leadership of the national defence system. However, if we looked at the resources allocated, changes in some areas are long overdue. The leadership has to listen to the needs of servicemen and to include the immediate demands in upcoming action plans.’

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