Viewing cable 05VILNIUS5
Title: Lithuania's Acquisition of Night Vision Devices:

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS52005-01-04 06:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

040652Z Jan 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000005 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, EUR/RPM, AND PM 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: MASS MARR PREL LH
SUBJECT: Lithuania's Acquisition of Night Vision Devices: 
A Two-Tiered NATO? 
 
 
¶1. (U) This is an action request.  Please see para 8. 
 
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Summary 
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¶2.  A U.S. vendor of advanced Night Vision Devices (NVDs) 
recently advised the Lithuanian government that its 
acquisition contravenes de facto USG policy.  The 
apparent policy to deny new NATO members these devices 
limits the effectiveness of Lithuanian soldiers serving 
in Iraq and elsewhere; creates divisions that corrode the 
cohesiveness of the NATO alliance; and ignores 
Lithuania's stellar track record of controlling its stock 
of less advanced U.S.-supplied NVDs.  End Summary. 
 
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Background: Two-tiered NATO? 
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¶3.  On November 25, 2004, a representative from the 
Lithuanian Defense Staff contacted us regarding 
Lithuania's efforts to acquire a level of Night Vision 
Devices (NVDs) through a Direct Commercial Sales 
contract.  Other NATO nations have acquired these 
devices.  Lithuania's J4 informed us that, as a result of 
an inquiry for the acquisition of NVDs, ITT corporation 
(the leading U.S. NVD manufacturer) told the Lithuanian 
Defense Staff that there was a de facto two-tiered NVD 
release to NATO nations for U.S. manufactured NVDs (see 
para 5 for text). 
 
¶4.  Lithuania plans to use the NVDs requested to support 
troops deployed in Iraq, those currently preparing to 
join the U.S.-led NATO Reaction Force-5, and future 
deployments in Afghanistan.  Post has previously 
supported the acquisition of Generation III NVDs as well 
as advanced communications devices such as the PRC-117 as 
well as the release of COMSEC 1 for tactical radios, 
which SOCOM deems essential for full interoperability 
with US forces. 
 
¶5.  Text of ITT letter follows: 
 
We understand you have received inquiries concerning the 
possibility of Lithuania receiving night vision equipment 
with a FOM of 1600.  Decisions on the performance levels 
of exports are made by the Government of the United 
States and these decisions are made on a case-by-case 
basis for night vision equipment.  We can report to you 
only what our experience has been so far, since we have 
no basis for knowing for certain what decisions will be 
made on future export applications. 
With this preface, above, here is what we know right now: 
For the new NATO countries the exportable FOM has been 
limited to 1250, maximum.  We see this limit written in 
the provisos of recently-approved export licenses.  We 
have no knowledge of any change planned for that maximum. 
The old NATO countries, including Poland, Hungary and the 
Czech Republic, have been limited to 1600 FOM, maximum. 
Since the resolution of most modern image intensifier 
tubes is either 64 or 57 line pairs per millimeter, to 
stay within the top limit of 1250 FOM the maximum 
exportable Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) will be either 
19.5 or 21.9, respectively, for the new NATO countries: 
19.5 x 64 = 1248.0, 21.9 x 57 = 1248.3. 
 
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A Staunch, Active Ally 
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¶6.  Lithuania fully supports U.S. policies in the Global 
War on Terrorism and staunchly supports Operation 
Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The 
Lithuanian Parliament, in September 2004, approved a bill 
extending its military's participation in Central and 
South Asia, the Persian Gulf, and the Balkans. 
Lithuanian Special Operations Forces have maintained a 
nearly continuous presence in Afghanistan since November 
¶2002.  They rotated out last month, but are committed to 
return in 2006.  They have also recently committed to 
participate in NATO Reaction Forces -5 and -6. 
Lithuanians have also served in Kuwait and Iraq since 
April 2003, and over 100 Lithuanians are currently in 
Iraq. Since 1994, over 1,300 Lithuanians have 
participated in Peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. 
Over 100 Lithuanian troops serve there now. 
 
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A proven track record 
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¶7.  Lithuania procured a lower grade of NVDs through an 
FMF case in 2003/2004 and employed them in support of OIF 
and OEF without any physical security incidents.  The 
Lithuanian Military received, processed, and inventoried 
this equipment in accordance with the terms of the Letter 
of Acceptance under the supervision of the Office of 
Defense Cooperation.  The Chief of the Office of Defense 
Cooperation recently inventoried the U.S.-supplied NVDs 
located in Afghanistan and Lithuania and found no 
security infractions or loss of accountability. 
 
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Action Request 
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¶8.  Lithuania's mission need and track record warrant 
acceptance of its NVD purchase request.  Post requests 
that the Department encourage OSD to review USG equipment 
release criteria for Lithuania.  Ensuring that this 
reliable ally can procure the same equipment as other 
NATO allies will eliminate the unfortunate perception of 
a two-tiered NATO."  It will also help our allies, 
currently serving in harm's way together with U.S. 
troops, to protect themselves and other coalition 
soldiers.