|Multinational operations » Forces on stanby|
Forces on stanby
|Lithuania's military personnel in NATO Response Force|
Events of the beginning of the 21st century made it clear that the principles of state security must be changed because external threats may emerge not necessary as an activity of armed capabilities of an identifiable hostile state and the principles of a conventional war lose relevance. Modern threats gather mobility and may pop up in any part of the world at any time. Effects of any crisis in the contemporary epoch of international terrorism may spread across unlimited distances. Under the given conditions no one can feel safe unless the potential danger is suppressed right where it emerges in the primary phase of development.
NATO as an organisation had the primary task of ensuring collective security through responding to the threats of the Cold War, it was designed with regard to the actions of conventional warfare and in accordance with the requirements of military conceptions of the second half of the 20th century. With an aim to retain the capacity to respond efficiently to emerging modern threats, NATO underwent fundamental reforms in structure, requirements for armed capabilities, and procedures; for the same end new initiatives were implemented with the primary focus on the formation of the NATO Response Force (NRF).
The NATO Response Force (NRF) was adopted by the Alliance at the 2002 Prague Summit. 2003 saw the beginning of the concept being put into practice, and in 2005 NRF reached the initial operational capability. Formation of NRF is the first step towards a new NATO capable of timely and efficient response to all the types of threats. NATO Response Force has integrated and fully interoperable land, air and naval components under the lead of a unanimous military command. In case of necessity NRF is tailored to deploy at short notice to any location in the world to defend collective security of the Alliance. NRF is capable of conducting the full spectrum of missions from high intensity actions in enemy territory, counter-terrorist and crisis response actions to humanitarian or civilian evacuation tasks. Formation of NRF does not mean it will interchange for other NATO operational forces, but due to high readiness level (deployment to operation theatre within 5-30 days) it will be the first to enter operation theatre and will operate until the arrival of other capabilities of NATO states.
The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania approved duty of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in NRF on 20 January 2005. On January 14 of the same year Water Purification Unit of the Lithuanian Armed Forces based on the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytenis Forward Support Logistic Battalion's (deployed in Marijampolė) water purification personnel was ready for duty in NRF. Lithuanian servicemembers conducted their first tour of duty in the fourth rotation of NRF. By then NRF already had 17 thousand personnel and was capable of completing any task needed.
Lithuania deployed Water Purification Unit (WPU) on the first operation of NRF. On October 8 a particularly strong earthquake hit Pakistan and local government called for NATO's relief. Although after the formal end of Lithuania's duty in NRF, Water Purification Unit was deployed within 15 days to the earthquake-hit Arja province of Pakistan. Polish engineers assisted in installing a post for WPU in Bagh town, and the Unit started cleaning water of Mal River to be supplied for local population, hospital of the Dutch Armed Forces, and highland engineers of the UK. The mission lasted for three months resulting with 363 300 liters of purified water.
In July of 2005 one of the Lithuanian Special Forces Squadrons, „Aitvaras-05", joined NRF. In the first half of 2006 it was replaced by „Aitvaras-06" in NRF-6, Lithuania had one vessel in NRF-7, and skipped NRF-8. One Lithuanian vessel conducted duty in NRF-9 and a SOF squadron and water purification specialists were on standby in NRF-10 from January 2008.
On the 1st of January of 2010 the trilateral Lithuanian-Estonian-Latvian Baltic Battalion began duty in the 14th rotation of NRF. The trilateral Battalion was formed in September 2007 and led by Lithuania. Estonia and Lithuania contributed military units and Latvia deployed staff personnel to the formation. Lithuania sent two mechanized infantry companies, staff and support company, and logistic support company (in total around 600 servicemembers), Estonia deployed a mechanized infantry company, surveillance and logistic support platoons. Lithuania also contributed soldiers for duty across the NRF-14 headquarters and a National Support Unit in support of the entire Lithuanian contingent NRF-14 (over 40 members).
The Baltic Battalion conducted duty in the land component of NRF-14 in the first half of 2010. Land component of NRF-14 was led by Denmark. The component consisted of an infantry brigade, combat support and logistic support units. The multinational land component of NRF-14 had combat units of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Italy, USA, UK, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Romania and Hungary in its composition along with Lithuanian and Danish personnel. NRF-14 finished standby on 30 June 2010.
On the 1st of July of 2010 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit of the Lithuanian Armed Forces based on Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion started duty in NRF. Around 30 EOD specialists of the Lithuanian Armed Forces performed duty in NRF-15 in composition of a Polish EOD Company in the first half of 2010.
In accordance with NATO reform and a renewed concept of the NATO Response Force, rotation period in NRF has been changed to one year since 2011.
On the 1st of January of 2011 Airport Terminal Services Unit formed on the basis of the Lithuanian Air Force's personnel and mine countermeasures vessel „Sūduvis" (M52) of the Lithuanian Naval Force began duty in NRF.
In case the decision to activate NRF was made, the Airport Terminal Services Unit consisting of 18 soldiers would be responsible on theatre for providing service during redeployment of air base: loading, discharge and transportation of cargo, registration and escort of passengers, medical support, and other tasks, as well as for ensuring flight safety. In case NRF was activated, Airport Terminal Maintenance Unit would operate in composition of the air element of NRF.
Apart from the Airport Terminal Services Unit and vessel „Sūduvis" an approximately 100-strong Force Protection Company formed by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion conducted standby in the NATO Response Force.
A Special Operations Forces Unit along with a Movement Control and Medium Truck Unit and a Water Purification Unit formed from logistic units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces were contributed to the NATO Response Force for a year-round standby in 2012. The Lithuanian Air Force provided C-27J Spartan transport aircraft for the same rotation.
On January 1 approximately 200 military personnel provided by the Lithuanian Air Force, Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion, the Special Operations Forces and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion entered standby in the NATO Response Force (NRF).
In 2013 Lithuania will contribute an Airport Terminal Services Unit staffed by the Lithuanian Ari Force for standby in NRF.
In case of NRF activation, EOD Section of the EOD Company of Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion will be held on standby for deployment into an operation theatre. If such a necessity arises, EOD specialists would be able to carry out standard and improvised explosive devices neutralization operations, reconnaissance in a contaminated area and explosive hazard clearance.
In 2013 the 2nd Company of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion will also be on NRF standby which would act as a Force Protection Company in case of activation.
Personnel of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the European Union Battlegroups
Battlegroups (BG, Fr. Les groupements tactiques) is the European Union's equivalent of rapid response force. The Battlegroup Concept was approved in 2004. It was formed on the basis of propositions of Germany, the United Kingdom, and France rendered in the same year. The possibility to launch a project regarding a European Union's rapid response force in the future was first mentioned in the arrangements of the Helsinki Council Summit. In 2003 an EU Military Rapid Response Concept was approved providing basis for the Battlegroup Concept to be adopted in 2004.
According to the Concept, Battlegroups are high-readiness, rapidly deployable multinational joint capabilities taylored to conduct operations independently or in the initial phase of larger operations. The EU Battlegroups are deployable within 5-10 days after making the political decision, and are sustainable on theatre from 30 to 120 days. One Battlegroup includes around 2 thousand members. Battlegroups are capable of conducting operations anywhere beyond the EU within a 6 thousand kilometers radius around Brussels.
The Battlegroup Concept reached its Initial Operational Capacity in early 2005. On the basis of the Concept, two Battlegroups have been conducting standby on a half year rotational basis since 2007 allowing the European Union to take up two concurrent rapid response operations almost simultaneously. The rotation plan is drawn for several years ahead. For example, in the first half of 2008 the Nordic Battlegroup (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Ireland) and joint Spanish-French-German-Portuguese Battlegroups were on standby. In the second half of 2008 a joint Italian-Spanish-Portuguese-Belgian-Luxembourgian Battlegroup and the UK Battlegroup were scheduled to take up the duty.
The Battlegroup Concept was developed on the basis of the NATO Response Force model, however, NRF and BG have significant differences both in scale and tasks in view.
On the 1st of January of 2010 military personnel of Lithuania started a half-year duty in the rapid response force of the European Union - the Battlegroup.
Lithuanian Contingent in the EU Battlegroup was based on the Motorised Infantry Company with a logistic platoon of King Mindaugas Mechanised Infantry Battalion, CIMIC team (formed by the National Defence Volunteer Force), Military Police Division, soldiers assigned to the international staff, and the National Support Element - around 150 personnel in total. Lithuanians conducted standby together with military personnel from Poland, Latvia, Slovakia, and Germany. The Lithuanian Contingent completed standby in the EU Battlegroup on the 30th of June of 2010.
A Lithuanian Contingent to conduct standby in the European Union Battlegroup in the second semester of 2013 will be formed by the Motorised Infantry Company of King Mindaugas Mechanised Infantry Battalion. Military personnel from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and Latvia will be held on standby together with Lithuanians. The standby will end on 31 December, 2013.
More information about the Battlegroups: