Viewing cable 05VILNIUS1291
Title: LITHUANIA'S DEFENSE BUDGET FALLS SHORT OF

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS12912005-12-09 16:19:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS VILNIUS 001291 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PINS LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA'S DEFENSE BUDGET FALLS SHORT OF 
EXPECTATIONS 
 
REF: VILNIUS 1277 
 
¶1. (U) Lithuania's parliament approved a defense budget for 
2006 on December 8 that falls short of the Lithuanian armed 
forces' hopes  -- and of the GOL's commitment to NATO. 
Despite an 11 percent increase in absolute terms over last 
year's appropriation, defense spending will remain at 1.27 
percent of GDP, roughly the same as 2005.  The MOD and 
several influential parliamentarians favored increasing 
defense spending by 0.05 percent of GDP (reftel), but the GOL 
declined to ask the legislature for such an increase. 
 
¶2. (U) The approved budget includes USD 6.2 million for the 
first of three payments for a new radar system to improve 
coverage of Lithuania's airspace, which was a high MOD 
priority.  As anticipated reftel, parliament did not sign off 
on the MOD's request for authorization to seek a loan for the 
purchase of three military transport aircraft to meet a NATO 
force goal. 
 
¶3. (SBU) The outcome on the overall military budget took many 
in parliament by surprise, as the leadership of all the key 
committees with particular interest in the defense budget had 
favored the 0.05 percent of GDP increase.  They and other key 
parliamentarians had told us they expected the Seimas to 
approve the increase.  The Ambassador and Defense Minister 
Kirklias coordinated contacts with key parliamentary leaders 
to ensure that Lithuania progressed towards its NATO 
commitment to spend two percent of GDP on defense. 
High-ranking MOD officials told us that the stage was set for 
a 0.05 percent of GDP increase in military spending as 
recently as November 30. 
 
¶4. (U) In the end, the beleaguered, multiparty government 
chose butter over guns.  Following passage of the budget, 
parliamentary sources told us that the final allocation was 
the result of backroom coalition politicking in which the 
military's advocates failed to carry the day.  MOD 
Undersecretary Renatas Norkus told us there is still a 
possibility that parliament will consider supplemental 
funding to fill some of the gaps that this budget leaves. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Comment:  As reported reftel, even the hoped-for 
0.05 percent of GDP increase would have left Lithuania short 
of the resources it needs to meet all of its NATO commitments 
and to advance its military transformation agenda.  This 
budget only exacerbates that problem.  In the coming days, we 
will continue to discuss with the MOD what deadlines or goals 
this funding shortfall will jeopardize and how we can engage 
with parliament and the GOL to help the MOD obtain the funds 
it needs. 
MULL