Lithuania Needs a Capable Armed Forces, R. Karoblis Says
(Source: Lithuania Ministry of Defence; issued March 23, 2017)
“Establishment of the Light Infantry Brigade Aukštaitija is a big day for the Lithuanian Armed Forces and for national defence. Developments and changes in geopolitical situation of the recent years demonstrate that freedom and independence cannot be taken for granted any longer.

“Lithuania needs a capable Armed Forces, therefore I wish Aukštaitija to grow and strengthen, so that you are able to defence our independence on land, at sea, in the air, in cyberspace and information space,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said at the ceremony of bestowing an organisational flag on the new unit.

The new unit, Light Infantry Brigade Aukštaitija, was established as defence capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces are strengthened and in order to adapt to the changing security situation. The unit is formed from training capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. On March 23, the Light Infantry Brigade Aukštaitija was bestowed with an organisational flag at a ceremony in Kazlų Rūda.

During peacetime and in case of wartime the Aukštaitija Brigade will be under the command of Colonel Danas Mockūnas, chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Training and Doctrine Command.

“Formation of the third brigade in the Lithuanian Armed Forces is a real step towards a stronger defence. We have established the Aukštija Brigade to adapt the Lithuanian Armed Forces structure to the current-day challenges. The new unit will connect together service-members from the professional military service training units, the Continuous Mandatory Initial Military Service and the trained reserve. This is an efficient structure during wartime,” Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas said during the ceremony about the decision to form the brigade.

The Aukštaitija Brigade HQ is based in Vilnius and is manned mainly by staff service-members of the Training and Doctrine Command. The Brigade comprises four battalions the control teams and staffs are formed by soldiers of the Division General Stasys Raštikis Lithuanian Armed Forces School, Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment, General Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre, and General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. Maneuver units of the battalions (companies) are planned to be formed by the trained reserve soldiers.

Reconnaissance company of the Brigade is formed by conscripts, communications, headquarters and logistical support companies – by professional soldiers serving in the national defence system institutions.

In total, Aukštaitija will include roughly 4,500 professional service, continuous mandatory initial military service, and trained reserve soldiers.

The first training event for the reservists will be arranged as soon as in April at General Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre in Nemenčinė. The training will be focused on integration, coordination of actions and ability to complete wide spectrum operations together with other Lithuanian Land Force units and support units of the Brigade personnel coming from different Lithuanian Armed Forces units and institutions of the national defence system.

During peacetime the service-members assigned to the Brigade will be completing their routine duties but will also routinely take part in national defence-oriented military exercises as a military unit.

Currently the Lithuanian Armed Forces includes the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf in Rukla and the Motorised Infantry Brigade Žemaitija headquartered in Klaipėda. With three infantry brigades in its command, the Lithuanian Armed Forces will be capable of operations vital for ensuring national security, appropriate hosting of allied forces, and completing operations of collective defence, by providing an expeditious response to violations of the sovereignty of state.

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