C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000381
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018
TAGS: PREL MARR NATO LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN NON-PAPERS ON POSSIBLE U.S. DEFENSE
SUPPORT TO LITHUANIA
Classified By: CDA W.S. Reid III
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (C) Lithuanian DCM Gediminas Varvuolis called on A/DCM
Reid on 14 October to discuss Vilnius' ideas for increased
U.S. military investment and cooperation. In addition to
raising the Lithuanian MFA's non-paper which had been passed
to the United States on the margins of UNGA, he also provided
a new Ministry of Defense non-paper on the same issue.
Varvuolis did not make detailed comments on the subject
matter and acknowledged that Lithuanian defense spending must
rise if requests for assistance are to be come more credible.
He said his mission is working hard to that end.
Â¶2. (C) Comment: USNATO assesses that the MOD paper is
superior to the MFA paper, but both suffer from the
underlying problem of insufficient Lithuanian defense
spending, amounting to only 1.15 per cent of their GDP in
Â¶2008. Among Allies, only Luxembourg, Hungary and Belgium
spend a smaller percentage of GDP on defense than Lithuania,
and the NATO target for defense spending is two percent. In
previous meetings at NATO Lithuanians have stated that they
would "like to spend two per cent, but they don't know what
to spend it on." We consider the priorities to be addressed
in both non-papers a good place for them to start, and
provide the text of both documents for Washington,s
consideration when formulating policy concerning Lithuania
and the region. End comment.
Â¶3. (C) //BEGIN TEXT - MOD Paper//
CONTINUED TRANSFORMATION OF THE U.S. GLOBAL DEFENSE POSTURE:
POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF LITHUANIA
U.S. Defense Posture Realignment: Lithuanian View
Since the inception of the U.S. global defence posture
realignment, Lithuania has been strongly supportive of this
First of all, Lithuania accepts the basic assumptions,
guiding the shift in U.S. overseas military presence. In the
present strategic environment, characterized by a high degree
of unpredictability, the forces are no longer expected to
fight where they are based. Instead, military operations are
often conducted as a strategic distance, which requires
having flexible and agile forces. In this regard, the U.S.
defense posture realignment is timely and relevant response
to today,s strategic reality.
Equally important are the positive practical implications
that the changes in U.S. military posture have on NATO as a
whole and on individual allies. This process creates a
strong impetus to further advance NATO's transformation.
Involved Allies especially the newer members of NATO, get a
clear confirmation of their credibility and strategic value.
By contributing to the national and Allied security, they
also uphold NATO's spirit of collectiveness and solidarity
and reinforce transatlantic relations.
Against this background, Lithuania very much welcomes U.S.
commitment to continue to transform its global defense
posture, which was reiterated in the recently adopted
National Defense Strategy. Appreciating the transparency and
openness, which are the underlying principles of the U.S.
consultations, Lithuania is willing and able to join the
growing network of U.S. capabilities and arrangements with
Allies and partners and to contribute to the projected
American footprint in Europe.
The conflict in Georgia has prompted Lithuania to consider a
comprehensive review and reinforcement of national defense
measures. In addition to strengthening national defense
capabilities, high importance is attached to further
development of the host nation support (HNS) capacities. The
latter directly corresponds to the aim of securing a tangible
presence of infrastructure or personnel of NATO or individual
allies on Lithuanian territory.
Lithuania would like to renew its offer to be part of the
U.S. rebasing activities. It should be stressed that this
offer is not based on a narrow local interest, but on a broad
strategic assessment of security situation in the
Northeastern Europe. From a strategic perspective Lithuania
is situated in a critical geopolitical location. Being the
most eastern EU and NATO member and standing in the
crossroads of Western and Northeastern Europe. Lithuania can
offer a convenient posture for different defense
arrangements. In addition, Lithuania borders countries that
do not shy away from rogue and sometimes even aggressive
behavior. The risks emerging in the Baltic region may affect
the security of the entire Alliance
In practice the territory of Lithuania could serve several
important purposes for the US force posture in Europe. If
strategic situation and in particular NATO,s relations with
Russia continue to deteriorate further, Lithuania would be
willing to consider a possible permanent hosting of US forces
for the joint use of Lithuanian military facilities. In the
meantime, Lithuania, with some assistance from NATO,
continues to invest in and upgrade its defense-related
infrastructure. In this regard, priority is given to the
Zokniai air base, which hosts the Allies fighters performing
NATO,s air policing mission in the Baltic States. In the
future, the implementation of several important projects,
aimed at developing HNS infrastructure for strategic airlift
and air defense fighter capabilities and providing air-to-air
refueling services, is foreseen. Lithuania also has a
convenient sea port at Klaipeda, which could be used for the
HNS, including reception, transit or stationing of the US
naval forces. With some investment and upgrading of existing
facilities, the above mentioned infrastructure could be used
to assist the "rotational presence," movement or periodic
operational presence of U.S. troops.
U.S. and NATO military footprint in Lithuania could be also
enhanced through military exercises. Lithuania holds that it
is necessary to re-energize the organization of NATO-wide
military exercises, more specifically, to train the NATO
Response Force for the conduct of Article 5 operations.
While raising and discussing this issue at NATO level the US
endorsement and support would be indispensable. As for
bilateral and multilateral exercises, the U.S. forces could
routinely make use of the open land on Lithuanian territory.
There is already some appropriate infrastructure installed
and running, including training bases, firing ranges,
barracks, state-of-the-art tactical training facilities etc.
In addition, Lithuania can offer relatively low operating
costs and highly experienced staff, who have managed a number
of international exercises. Lithuania also highly
appreciates U.S. contribution to the development of a
training centre for Special Operations Forces in Lithuania
and looks forward to exploring the possibilities to transform
this enter into the center of excellence.
In any of the above-mentioned cases, U.S. military presence
in Lithuania would not turn into a financial burden for the
U.S. ) Lithuania will do its utmost to provide necessary
infrastructure along with appropriate security and logistics
arrangements for any potential US presence (facilities,
equipment, or/and troops).
In addition, Lithuania welcomes the agreements between the
U.S. and Poland and the Czech Republic on the deployment of
the missile defence assets in Europe. Lithuania would be
ready to discuss any possible Lithuania,s involvement in
support of this important strategic endeavor.
Last, but not least, it is important to emphasize that any
direct U.S. military presence in Lithuania would elevate the
bilateral partnership to a whole new level, which would be
fully consistent with NATO,s principle of collective
defense. Collective defense guarantees, as provided in
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, form the backbone of
security and defense policy of each member of NATO. At the
same time, under Article 3, the Allies are supposed to
maintain and develop the capabilities on individual or
bilateral basis, so as to strengthen their capabilities to
resist armed attack. In this light enhanced U.S.-Lithuanian
cooperation would provide large security dividends not only
for the two partners but for the entire transatlantic
Lithuania is looking forward to further consultations with
American experts on the needs and plans of the U.S. future
force posture to be able to further refine the proposals
advanced in this non-paper and present them in a more
//END TEXT - MOD Paper//
Â¶4. (C) //BEGIN TEXT - MFA Paper//
We ask for U.S. support initiating the review of MC 161 and
producing contingency operation plan (COP) for the Baltic
Region (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia).
We ask to continue the work undertaken by US EUCOM re:
preparations for the Baltic States to host U.S. military
units in case crisis and/or military conflict.
Increase U.S. military funding to Lithuania/Baltics,
especially investments into capabilities to host U.S. combat
Strengthening elements of NATO collective defense (ACT).
Priority Areas for FMF support and US military advise:
Creating/strengthening anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense
Strengthening navy and coastal defense
Strengthening anti-tank capabilities
Military exercises (NATO, multilateral, bilateral)
Annual U.S.-Baltic exercise (above battalion level) in one of
the Baltic nations starting 2009
US support in dedicating part of NATO exercises (CMX and
other) to Article 5 scenario.
Permanent Solution is needed
We need U.S. support to continue the mission at least until
We need U.S. support in looking for a solution after 2011
To maintain the element of NATO presence after 2018 as well
as standard of readiness (able to respond/react in 15 min,
U.S. support for NATO funded projects in Siauliai airport and
Karmelava CRC/ARS (airspace control center)
U.S. footprint/presence in the Baltics:
In Lithuania; joint U.S.-Lithuanian SOF center of excellence
Elements of infrastructure/combat units supporting American
installations in Poland.
Supporting Lithuania,s participation in international
Support relevant projects in Ghowr province (Lithuanian PRT):
Chagcharan airport and Kaboul-Chagcharan-Herat highway.
Help in convincing Kaboul to deploy ANA unit in Ghowr province
Supplying Lithuanian units in Afghanistan with certain
Tapping into the Lithuanian scientific/technical potential:
Supporting Lithuanian scientific community
Involvement Lithuanian research and science into DOD funded
Promoting cooperation between US defence industry and
Lithuanian scientific community.
//END TEXT - MFA Paper//