Viewing cable 08USNATO381
Title: LITHUANIAN NON-PAPERS ON POSSIBLE U.S. DEFENSE

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08USNATO3812008-10-17 15:56:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Mission USNATO
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C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000381 
 
SIPDIS 
 
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) 
 
¶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. 
 
¶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 
¶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. 
 
¶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 
process. 
 
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. 
 
Why Lithuania? 
 
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 
 
Practical proposals 
 
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 
alliance. 
 
 
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 
elaborate detail. 
 
//END TEXT - MOD Paper// 
 
¶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 
support units. 
 
Strengthening elements of NATO collective defense (ACT). 
 
Priority Areas for FMF support and US military advise: 
 
Creating/strengthening anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense 
capabilities. 
 
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. 
 
Air Policing: 
 
Permanent Solution is needed 
 
We need U.S. support to continue the mission at least until 
¶2018. 
 
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, 
24/7) 
 
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 
operations: 
 
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 
military equipment. 
 
Tapping into the Lithuanian scientific/technical potential: 
 
Supporting Lithuanian scientific community 
 
Involvement Lithuanian research and science into DOD funded 
projects. 
 
Promoting cooperation between US defence industry and 
Lithuanian scientific community. 
 
//END TEXT - MFA Paper// 
REID