Viewing cable 06VILNIUS45

06VILNIUS452006-01-30 09:32:00 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.
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
REF:  STATE 223383 
¶1.  The following is the response for Lithuania for the 2005 
and 2006 Report on Allied Contributions to the Common 
Defense.  Unless otherwise stated, average exchange rate 
used throughout the report is:  1 USD = 2.775 Lita. 
General Assessment 
¶2.  (U) Lithuania is one of the United States' staunchest 
allies in Europe and is an active participant in Operation 
Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the International Stabilization and 
Assistance Force (ISAF), and the Global War on Terrorism. 
This small country on the European Union's border also 
significantly contributes to the common defense by promoting 
and strengthening relations with its neighbors, building a 
reliable and compatible defense force, and participating in 
international crisis prevention and response and 
peacekeeping operations.  The government works closely with 
the USG on summit initiatives, including the NATO Response 
Force, and on preventing the spread of weapons of mass 
destruction.  Since becoming a member of NATO and the EU in 
2004, Lithuania has moved rapidly from recipient to donor 
status, contributing financially and in kind and exceeding 
expectations for a country of its size and resources. 
¶3.  (U) Lithuania is a reliable transatlantic partner and a 
strong advocate of NATO's primacy as the guarantor of 
security in Europe.  Fully supporting the common security 
policy for the Euro-Atlantic area, Lithuania strongly 
advocates for 24/7 air policing coverage of the Baltics. 
Lithuania supports Baltic air policing with a regional 
airspace surveillance command and control center (RASCC) in 
Karmeleva.  Lithuania continues to strongly support the 
joint Baltic mine clearance squadron (BALTRON) as part of a 
regional effort in combating the active sea mine threat from 
munitions laid during both World Wars and the Soviet era. 
Lithuania endorses development of a European Security and 
Defense Policy and capabilities that neither duplicate nor 
undermine NATO's own.  At the end of 2005, the first 
Lithuanian battalion-sized task forces successfully 
completed NATO assessment for readiness to conduct 
deployments in support of NATO Article V operations. 
¶4.  (U) A rapidly expanding economy in 2004-2005 allowed the 
Lithuanian government to increase defense spending in the 
2006 budget by approximately 12%, but this increase was 
insufficient to meet the targeted 0.05% of GDP annual rise 
and just allowed Lithuania to hold fast at 1.27% of GDP for 
defense.  Despite sustained economic growth (an average 7% 
annual increase in GDP for the five-year period), with a GDP 
per capita of only 46% of the EU average, Lithuania has a 
long way to go to bring its citizens' standard of living up 
to EU levels.  The government's social agenda dictated 
budget priorities for 2006 spending.  A last- minute push by 
parliamentary supporters of a robust contribution to common 
defense secured funding for aircraft acquisitions and 
upgrades to the country's regional radar capability. 
Military planners expect the funding shortfall will push 
back deadlines for certain of Lithuania's military 
transformation goals, including the ability to more rapidly 
develop logistical units, fund air force modernization, 
develop naval infrastructure, and accelerate the procurement 
of specialized equipment for special forces units. 
¶5.  (U) Lithuania has politically and materially supported 
the alliance's international missions, contributing a total 
284 personnel and 36.616 million Litas (13.19 million USD) 
to international operations in 2005.  The parliament 
facilitated Lithuania's support for international operations 
by increasing the ceiling of deployable personnel to 420 and 
empowering the military to deploy or redeploy troops within 
theater without seeking explicit parliamentary 
Contributions to the Global War on Terrorism 
¶6.  (U) Lithuania was an early supporter of U.S. policy and 
coalition operations in Iraq, with troops on the ground 
since 2003.  Lithuanian soldiers serving under Danish and 
Polish command in Iraq conduct patrols, assist in 
maintaining public order, and are involved in rebuilding and 
reconstructions efforts.  By the end of 2005, approximately 
116 Lithuanian personnel participated in Operation Iraqi 
Freedom (OIF), serving under the Polish and Danish commands 
(and with the United Kingdom in the Headquarters for 
Multinational Division South East).  In response to 
increasing stability in Iraq and the increasing capability 
of Iraqi military and law enforcement authorities, the GOL 
announced its intention to reduce their numbers in OIF to 
about 50, in concert with other U.S. and coalition 
reductions.  Lithuania also provides three trainers to the 
NATO Training Mission - Iraq (NTM-I). 
¶7.  (U) Lithuania maintained a commitment of approximately 
40 Special Operations Force (SOF) personnel and one staff 
liaison officer to the U.S.-led Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 
in Afghanistan through 2004-2005 and plans to return a SOF 
unit in 2006.  In 2005, Lithuania undertook to establish and 
lead a NATO multinational Provincial Reconstruction Team 
(PRT) in Afghanistan's remote Ghor Province.  Since standing 
up the PRT in August 2005, Lithuania's 124 personnel in 
Chagcharan have had a significant impact on the stability 
and quality of life of local residents, implementing water 
sanitation projects, building bridges, and repairing and 
reconstructing a community orphanage and local mosque.  They 
have identified the priorities for their humanitarian relief 
projects in concert with local civic organizations, 
contributing to nascent democracy-building initiatives and 
regional security in the process.  The overall Lithuanian 
operational expense in Afghanistan was 14.512 million Litas 
(5,229,550 USD) in 2005. 
Within the Region: 
¶8.  (U) Lithuania's accession to the European Union and NATO 
opened up new opportunities for the GOL to engage with its 
neighbors to the east, most notably in the context of the 
EU's "New Neighborhood" policy.  Leveraging its historical 
experience as part of the Soviet Union, Lithuania seeks to 
assist the transition of former Soviet states to democracy 
and integration into European western institutions such the 
EU and NATO.  In Belarus, the Lithuanian government supports 
work with nascent democratic forces both unilaterally and 
through regional frameworks such as the Enhanced Partnership 
in Northern Europe (E-PINE).  Lithuania is the NATO point of 
contact in Minsk.  President Valdas Adamkus was instrumental 
in mediating the election crisis in Ukraine, and Lithuania 
is one of the most vocal advocates for Ukraine's bid to 
become a member of the EU and NATO.  Lithuania supports 
Moldova's aspiration to join the EU and encourages the 
countries of the South Caucasus to pursue European 
integration.  Lithuania contributed 195,000 Litas (70,270 
USD) for the training of South Caucasus and Ukrainian 
officers' studies at the Lithuanian Military Academy and 
50,000 Litas (18,018 USD) for the training of South 
Caucasus, Moldovan, and Croatian officers' studies at the 
Baltic Defense College. 
Broader Middle-East and North Africa (BMENA): 
¶9.  (U) Lithuania supports the USG and European agenda 
regarding Middle East peace, but has not been an active 
player in this area.  Lithuania has plans to host a 
parliamentary exchange with Palestinian Authority 
parliamentarians in 2006, having hosted a similar and very 
successful program for Iraqi parliamentarians in 2004. 
¶10.  (U) Lithuanian soldiers have also performed as 
peacekeepers in the Balkans, contributing 32 personnel and 
7.153 million Litas (roughly 2.57 million USD) to KFOR in 
¶2005.  In 2006, Lithuanians will serve with Poles and 
Ukrainians in a joint peacekeeping battalion in Kosovo. 
Humanitarian Relief: 
¶11.  (U) The Lithuanian military offered more than 2,000 
field rations, ten water pumps, and medical supplies to 
victims of Hurricane Katrina, but the United States turned 
down the offer.  Following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, 
a Lithuanian armed forces water purification unit (ten 
personnel plus vehicles and equipment) deployed to and has 
been participating in the NATO relief effort Operation SWIFT 
RELEASE.  Lithuania has expended 141,300 Litas (48, 724 USD 
at an exchange rate of 1 USD = 2.9 Litas) in this operation. 
Lithuania's PRT in Afghanistan has engaged in bridge 
building, repaired a local mosque and an orphanage, and 
provided a water purification system to the local hospital. 
A Lithuanian military medical team also provides medical 
services to the people of Ghor province. 
Capacity Building: 
¶12.  (U) Lithuania actively seeks to help build capacity in 
partner countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, Croatia, and the 
South Caucasus.  The GOL spends approximately 70,270 USD for 
students from these nations to study at the Lithuanian 
Military Academy and the Baltic Defense College.  GOL 
defense officials maintain their most extensive dialogue 
with Ukrainian defense officials, focusing on administrative 
capacity building and resource management.  In general, the 
GOL is eager to engage and share its experience in joining 
NATO with new democracies in the region. 
¶13.  (U) Since EU Accession in 2004, Lithuania law 
enforcement agencies have increased their efforts to impose 
strict border and customs controls on the heavily transited 
Lithuanian/EU borders with Belarus and Russia. 
Counterproliferation Contributions: 
¶14.  (U) Lithuanian law enforcement authorities cooperate 
fully on monitoring and freezing assets of suspected 
terrorists.  They are vigilant in counter- and non- 
proliferation activities.  Lithuania cooperates with the USG 
on border control, port security, and export controls.  The 
GOL is a member of the Australia Group and signatory to the 
Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.  Lithuania fully endorses the 
principles of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), 
has participated in nearly every proliferation security 
initiative exercise in Europe, and plans to host a table 
exercise in 2006. 
¶15.  (U) In 2005, a senior Lithuanian customs official 
attended Technical Experts Working group regarding nuclear 
export control in Almaty.  In 2005, Lithuanian officials 
participated in developing a Lithuanian border security 
assessment focused on the port of Klaipeda and the Russian 
enclave of Kaliningrad.  At the end of 2005, a delegation 
from the Lithuanian Police and Prosecutor General's office 
attended a Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) border 
exercise in Estonia. 
¶16.  (U) Lithuania continues to transform its military 
capabilities in order to leverage interoperability, 
particularly in the NATO context through its long-term 
training and advisory program with the Danish military, to 
certify the Lithuanian Rapid Reaction Brigade for NATO 
Article V operations.  Lithuanian Special Operations Forces 
(SOF) have participated in a number of exchanges and 
exercises with SOF from the United States and other allied 
nations, and Lithuania air forces personnel participated in 
the NATO COOPERATIVE KEY international air exercise in 2005. 
Lithuanian military logistical personnel have completed the 
US-provided Joint Interoperability, Readiness, and 
Deployability Training (JDIRT) to improve load-out and cargo- 
handling capabilities for international operations. 
¶17.  (U) As a new NATO member, Lithuania continues to 
demonstrate its commitment to the alliance through its 
personnel and monetary contributions for NATO Response 
Forces (NRF) 5 & 6.  For NRF 5, Lithuania will provide 35 
Special Operations personnel, approximately 5 million Litas 
(1.8 million USD) in national funds, as well as the 
acquisition of long-term property.  In support of NRF 6, 
Lithuania will provide 50 Lithuanian Special Operations 
personnel, a 10 person Water Purification Unit, and 
approximately 4 million Litas (1.44 million USD). 
¶18.  (U) Lithuania continues to purchase significant 
quantities of spare parts and equipment from the United 
States.  In FY2004-2005, U.S. foreign military sales to 
Lithuania were valued at 11.46 million USD.  Lithuania is 
using FMF funding mixed with national funds to finance major 
equipment and support which simultaneously modernize and 
increase the interoperability of its armed forces.  Over 4 
million USD of U.S.-provided funds were used to purchase 
HMMWVs to outfit the High Readiness Battalion.  This 
acquisition will further enhance the Lithuanian readiness 
posture and continue to increase its level of 
interoperability within its own force structure and with its 
allies.  Contractor support for Defense Reform was 
continued, and Lithuania committed 1.341 million USD in FMF 
in order to establish a national simulation center capable 
of simulation exercises from squad to brigade level. 
Lithuania also received U.S. grant funding through an OIF 
supplemental, which it used in FY04 to procure individual 
soldier equipment and night vision devices to support 
Lithuanian troops deployed in Iraq. 
¶19.  (U) In 2005, Lithuania committed an additional 1.003 
million USD in FMF for HMMWVs for their High Readiness 
Battalion while continuing to support the RASCC with an 
outlay of 1.2 million USD.  The purchase of Automated 
Aircraft Load Planning System (AALPS) software and training 
will be used to better support joint US/Lithuanian 
logistical support operations out of Zoknai Air Base, 
Lithuania.  This will also increase Lithuania's 
interoperability with NATO and U.S. transport flights as 
well as help to decrease the burden upon U.S. load masters 
supporting monthly cargo flights in support of the PRT 
mission from Lithuania to Afghanistan.  The procurement of a 
Lithuanian portable military mission/operations Geospatial 
Support System mapping center valued at 160 thousand USD 
will allow the production of local area maps and survey 
materials for military commanders deployed in Iraq, 
Afghanistan and the Balkans. 
Direct Cost Sharing 
¶20.  (U) The United States has no permanent, forward- 
deployed military presence in Lithuania; however, at the 
beginning of FY 2006, the USAF deployed an expeditionary 
fighter squadron to Zoknai Airbase to support the NATO 
Baltic Air Policing mission.  Lithuania procured weather- 
protected aircraft shelters in FY 2005 for NATO Air Policing 
aircraft at a cost of 5 million Litas (1.8 million USD). 
Additionally, the GOL spent 8.4 million Litas (3.03 million 
USD) for other Air Policing support costs in 2005. 
Lithuania contributed 3.452 million Litas (1.243 million 
USD) to the Air Control Unit in support of NATO's combined 
air defense system.  The Lithuanian Military has invested 10 
million Litas (3.6 million USD) in the construction of a 
cruise ship terminal in Klaipeda which can be used in a Host 
Nation Support role during a NATO contingency operation. 
Additionally, Lithuania contributes to common security 
through NATO Security Investment Programs (NSIPs), where the 
national cost comes to 10% of the project.  Lithuania's 
contribution in 2005 was approximately 5 million Litas (1.8 
million USD). 
Indirect Cost Sharing 
¶21.  (U) Lithuania reimburses the Value Added Tax (VAT) for 
official purchases of services, materials, and supplies, to 
include utilities and telecommunications.  No customs duties 
are charged for official imports.  VAT and excise taxes are 
waived for the purchase of petroleum/oil/lubricants (POL). 
Navigation and landing fees are paid by the Ministry of 
Operational Contributions 
¶22.  (U) Balkans:  Lithuania contributed one staff/liaison 
officer to TF ALTHEA (EU) and 32 troops to KFOR.  The 
overall Lithuanian operational expense in the Balkans in 
2005 was 7.153 million Litas (2.58 million USD). 
¶23.  (U) Iraq:  Lithuania contributed two trainers to the 
NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) and 114 troops to 
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (although this number will drop to 
approximately 50 troops in early 2006).  The overall 
Lithuanian operational expense in Iraq in 2005 was 14.810 
million Litas (5.337 million USD). 
¶24.  (U) Afghanistan:  Lithuania contributed one staff 
liaison officer to CFC-A (OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM) and 
124 troops to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor 
Province (ISAF).  The overall Lithuanian operational expense 
in Afghanistan in 2005 was 14.512 million Litas (5.23 
million USD). 
¶25.  (U) Pakistan: Lithuania contributed 10 personnel and 
associated equipment and vehicles to SWIFT RELEASE, the NATO 
earthquake relief operation in Pakistan.  The overall 
Lithuanian operational expense in Pakistan in 2005 was 141.3 
thousand Litas (50.92 thousand USD). 
¶26.  (U) In total, Lithuania contributed more than 284 
personnel and 36.616 million Litas (13.19 million USD) to 
international operations in 2005. 
¶27.  (U) DOD Point of Contact:  LTC R. Darr Reimers, Office 
of Defense Cooperation, Embassy Vilnius, Tel:  (+370) 266- 
5641,  DOS POC:  Nancy Cohen, Embassy 
Vilnius, Tel: (+370) 266-5541,