On 1 January 2016, about 700 Lithuanian soldiers with infantry equipment and vehicles will begin to stand by for the NATO and EU rapid response forces.
Lithuania's flag with NATO's flag showing through it
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

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 Services will be on standby for different components of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016. The Lithuanian Navy's Mine Countermeasures vessel, the LNV Skalvis (M53), and its crew crew will also join the NATO Response Force in the second half of 2016.

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

In the beginning of 2016, a company from the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion will also start training for standby and assignments from the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). 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 UK-led European Union Battle Group (EU BG) in the second half of 2016 together with soldiers from Finland, Ireland, Latvia and Sweden. The core of the EU BG will be comprised of 4 infantry units: two British, one Lithuanian, and one from Latvia.

Soldiers in the Iron Sword 2015 NATO exercise
Soldiers in the Iron Sword 2015 NATO exercise
© P.Brown nuotr.

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

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

The NATO Response Force is a well-prepared and technologically advanced multinational NATO force. The NATO Response Force is formed by member states' units assigned to the forces, which are on standby for one year and are ready to deploy to their area of operation within a specified time if the decision to use force is made. The 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 Group (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 out six-month standbys on a rotating basis. Lithuanian troops carried out six-month rotations for the EU BG in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

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