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30 mars 2014 7 30 /03 /mars /2014 07:50
Photo credits: A.Pliadis

Photo credits: A.Pliadis


2014.03.21 kam.lt

On March 21 Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and Defence Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed security situation in the region along with possible actions of the countries in NATO and European frameworks, Eastern Partnership, and other relevant issues at a meeting in Vilnius.


„French Minister and I have discussed not only bilateral relations but a considerably broader context as well. Excellently, we have a shared view on the situation in Ukraine. Both Lithuania and France strongly condemn and disapprove the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. We must continue promoting support to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity in the international community and its institutions,” Minister of National Defence J.Olekas said following the meeting. Minister also underlined that the principle of collective defence was essential like never before.


With regard to the concerns about the situation in Ukraine and in solidarity with the Baltic States and the entire region, Defence Minister J. Y Le Drian conveyed the French President’s reassurance of France’s firm commitment to collective defence and its readiness to commission any capability necessary for stabilising the situation in the region, and also to make additional contributions to NATO exercises and deploying additional fighter jets to NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States.


Minister of National Defence J.Olekas expressed appreciation of France’s involvement in the region and thanked for providing as many as four rotations of fighter jets and air personnel for NATO’s air policing tasks which made France one of the most active contributors to the Baltic Air Policing mission conducted form the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai. “This mission is of topmost importance to us, it is a symbol of the Alliance’s solidarity with the Baltic States,” Minister J.Olekas said.


Minister of National Defence also extended gratitude to France for the promise to strengthen NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission with four fighter jets and the AWACs surveillance aircraft and radar. Lithuanian Minister also underscored the weight of French contribution to NATO exercises in the region: the largest contingent in NATO Article 5 (collective defence) exercise STEADFAST JAZZ last year came from France.


Minister also agreed to intensify the countries’ cooperation in the area of cyber defence and discussed plans of deployment to multinational operations.


French Defence Minister thanked Lithuania for sending the Spartan transport aircraft of the Lithuanian Air Force to render logistic support in Operation Sangaris deployed to stabilise security situation in the Central African Republic. Lithuania joined the operation with regard to France’s request and also seeking to step up the recently intensified Lithuanian-French cooperation.


Apart from being one of the most active participants of the NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic States, France is one of the sponsoring nations of the Lithuanian-hosted NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Vilnius.


Lithuania and France endorsed an agreement of defence and security cooperation during Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second semester of 2013.

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29 mars 2014 6 29 /03 /mars /2014 23:50
MOD photo (A. Pliadis)

MOD photo (A. Pliadis)


28.03.2014 kam.lt


On March 29 Lithuania celebrates its first decade in NATO. On Saturday at noon prompt a celebratory ceremony of hoisting Lithuanian and NATO flags will take place in Simonas Daukantas Square, the Honour Guard Company will present a demonstration programme, gun salute will be fired, and U.S. Air Contingent currently deployed on NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States will salute Lithuania by a flyover.


President of the Republic of Lithuania and Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Dalia Grybauskaitė, Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius will deliver congratulatory addresses to the nation.


“The Lithuanian Armed Forces have become professional, reliable and prepared for national defence in its own right and alongside NATO allies better than ever before. Membership of the strongest defence alliance is one of the greatest Lithuania’s political achievements that we can justly be proud of,” National Defence Minister J.Olekas says congratulating the nation on this important commemoration.


The ceremony will also be attended by members of the Parliament and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Ambassadors of NATO and EU member states in Lithuania, Defence Attachés, and representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.


Lithuania became a member of the world’s strongest defence alliance when ratification documents of the North Atlantic Treaty were deposited in Washington (U.S.A.) on 29 March 2004. NATO membership is the foundation of Lithuania’s security policy. As a NATO member we are a part of a collective security system where allied solidarity, collective defence guarantees and commitments to one another are the underlying principle.


From the very first day of NATO membership NATO allies began protecting the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by deploying their military air assets and personnel on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. Over the decade of membership as many as 14 NATO member states have rotated their air contingents 34 times to ensure that the Baltic airspace in protected.


Our allies respond immediately to the changes in security situation. The United States of America have sent additional 6 fighter jets to augment the Baltic Air Policing mission currently conducted by a U.S. Air Contingent, while Denmark, the United Kingdom and France have expressed an intent to do so in the future. Lithuania is ready to render all the necessary Host Nation Support for incoming forces in the event of necessity.


Video presentation: „Lithuania – 10 years in NATO“ (by SGT SPC Lukas Kalvaitis )


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7 mars 2014 5 07 /03 /mars /2014 18:50
Photo credit: Antanas Gedrimas

Photo credit: Antanas Gedrimas


2014-03-07  kariuomene.kam.lt


On March 6 the U.S. Air Force deployed six F-15 C Eagle fighter jets to the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai. These aircraft will augment the present mission comprising four U.S. F-15 C Eagle aircraft. The U.S. has heightened it NATO presence to increase the strength of the Baltic Air Policing mission. Another two U.S. KC-135 aerial refuelling aircraft have brought aircraft service personnel.


The U.S. has sent the additional fighter jets to the Baltics as a response to the developments in the region and as a further demonstration of a long-term U.S. commitment to NATO and European security.


According to the statement issued following NATO consultations under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the Alliance agrees "to pursue and intensify our rigorous and on-going assessment of the implications of this crisis for Alliance security, in close coordination and consultation".


U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on March 5 that a decision had been made to boost U.S. participation in NATO's Baltic Air policing mission with regard to NATO decisions.


The U.S. aircraft will also participate in NATO's Baltic Regional Training Event (BRTE) to take place early in April alongside NATO partners Sweden and Finland.


The additional F-15s and KC-135s NATO have been deployed to the Baltic Air Policing mission from their home base in Lakenheath, United Kingdom, just like the first four F-15s that arrived early in January.


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7 mars 2014 5 07 /03 /mars /2014 16:50
Additional Airmen, aircraft to support NATO policing mission in Baltics

An F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 6, 2014. The 48th Fighter Wing sent an additional six aircraft and more than 50 personnel to support NATO's air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez/Released)



March 7, 2014 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The 48th Fighter Wing has sent additional aircraft and personnel to support NATO's air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics.

Six F-15C Eagles departed RAF Lakenheath and two KC-135 Stratotankers carrying more than 60 Airmen departed RAF Mildenhall March 6.

Nearly 150 Airmen and four F-15C Eagles from the 48th FW have been supporting the Baltic Air Policing mission out of Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, since January as the 48th Air Expeditionary Group.

"This is the advantage of being forward-based," said Col. Mark Ciero, 48th Fighter Wing vice commander. "If called upon, we can quickly respond to support our allies and partners."

Air policing is part of NATO's "Smart Defense" model that incorporates allied nations conducting operations through shared capabilities and coordinated efforts to effectively accomplish missions. NATO countries rotate to provide Airmen and aircraft for the BAP mission, which is slated to continue through 2018.

In the last decade, 14 NATO nations have participated in this mission. This deployment marks the fourth rotation for U.S. forces.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
Baltic Air Policing 2013 - Belgische F-16's

28 nov. 2013 Belgian Defense


Depuis le 3 septembre 2013, quatre de nos F-16 font respecter l'espace aérien de l'Estonie, de la Lettonie et de la Lituanie. Présents jusqu'au 3 janvier 2014, nos 50 militaires sont basés à Siauliai, dans le nord de la Lituanie, pour l'opération Baltic Air Policing.

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18 octobre 2013 5 18 /10 /octobre /2013 11:50
Lithuania Calls for EU To Update Security Strategy

At right, Juozas Olekas, Lithuania's defense minister, speaks Monday during a hearing at the European Parliament. At left is Arnaud Danjean, chairman of the parliament's Security and Defence Subcommittee. (Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense)


Oct. 17, 2013 - By JULIAN HALE – Defense News


BRUSSELS — Lithuania, the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, wants EU leaders meeting at a summit here in December to begin updating the EU’s 10-year-old security strategy by, among other things, including cybersecurity and energy security.


It also wants to see the decline in Europe’s defense spending and EU partnerships in security and defense addressed at the summit.


“Over the past 10 years, the world outside Europe has become more unsafe, more volatile and more radical. Meanwhile, Europe itself has become more introverted, politically less ambitious and militarily less able to deal with emerging security challenges, even in neighboring territories,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told members of the European Parliament in a speech Monday.


“In the review of the strategy, Europeans will need to think well beyond the problems in our vicinity. We cannot ignore the fact that the US, which over decades was deploying considerable forces in Western Europe will, in the future, focus increasingly on other parts of the world.” Olekas said. “Therefore, Europe will need to rethink its global role, including the role of military force within its strategy.”


He added that cybersecurity and energy security “are conspicuous by their absence in the current strategy,” and yet “are the ones which are currently the most pressing for Lithuania and a number of other European countries.”


NATO has a Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia, and an Energy Security Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania.


“The establishment of these centers is a reflection of the growing security threats in our region and beyond,” he said.


Olekas said he wants to see EU leaders discuss cybersecurity and energy security issues in greater depth at the EU summit in December.


“Their distinguishing feature is complexity. This means that the response to threats of this nature must also be complex — ranging from regulation, standard-setting and targeted investments to active diplomacy, deterrents and responses,” he said.


“The European Union, with its expertise, political and economic leverages, and with its institutions, is currently better placed than anyone to take the lead in dealing with such non-military issues as cyber threats and energy insecurity.” he said. “Naturally, problems of this kind can only be solved in close cooperation with other countries and organizations, not least NATO. … I would like to hope that also in this area, the December European Council will set ambitious guidelines for the European Union.”


With regard to EU partnerships in the field of security and defense, he bemoaned the fact that “there is no regular security dialogue between the European Union and its neighbors, let alone military cooperation programs.”


In this context, he described the use of the paid services of private companies to compensate for capability shortfalls without turning to partners first as “another deeply flawed practice in EU operations.


“Thus, the European Union Training Mission in Mali recently hired medical evacuation helicopters, at a cost of €2.5 million for six months. Next year, we are likely to pay over €5 million for this service,” Olekas said. “And yet, the European Union has not once approached its partners who have such capabilities and who might be able to provide them on much better terms.”


Referring to European Defence Agency data that says EU defense spending dropped by 10 percent from 2005 to 2010 and by as much again from 2010 to 2013, he warned that “left unfettered, this process will have profound and far-reaching consequences not just for the European defense industry, but also for Europe’s position in the world. There is no getting away from the fact that the December European Council will have to pay considerable attention to defense funding issues.”


Olekas also played down expectations in terms of new projects arising from the December EU summit.


“These days, when European countries [including Lithuania] refer to the ‘development of military capabilities,’ we are actually talking not so much about development, but rather about the management of decline. Therefore, any talk of, and calls for, the December meeting of EU national leaders to announce new, ambitious projects and initiatives cannot be really taken seriously.


“Countering the decline in actual defense spending could be an ambitious enough objective for national leaders to set themselves for the moment,” he added.


The Lithuanian defense minister also argued energy costs could be sharply reduced through more efficient technologies and processes.


“Savings made in the more efficient running of military barracks, using less fuel-thirsty vehicles or renewable resources, could be invested into the required military capabilities,” he said.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Future of European Defence to be discussed in Vilnius

04 September 201 eu2013.lt


On 5–6 September EU Defence Ministers will hold an informal meeting in Vilnius. One of the key preparatory phases of the run-up to the December European Council will address possible recommendations for the discussion on defence issues at the level of European Heads of State and Government. 


“Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union coincides with a key semester on the Common Security and Defence Policy agenda as the European Council which will meet this December will discuss future prospects of European defence after a long break,” Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said on the eve of the meeting. “I do hope that in Vilnius we will manage to reach a common understanding with the colleagues on the discussion points and deliverables the European Heads of State and Government should produce.” 


„By agreeing to the need to debate on European security environment, I plan to draw our colleagues’ attention to the fact that the current European Security Strategy does not provide the best guidance in the rapidly changing security environment,“ Lithuanian Minister of National Defence J. Olekas said.


“I will also stress that EU cooperation with partners is very important for regional security and will urge my colleagues to focus more on EU response to the emerging security challenges, the necessity to be as flexible as possible in using EU battle groups for crisis management and seek for closer co-operation between the EU and NATO in international security area, “ Minister J. Olekas said.  


While discussing initiatives to strengthen the European defence and security sector, the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence plans putting forward possibilities to engage small and medium enterprises in European Commission support programmes. The Minister also said he would stress the importance of increasing military energy efficiency in the light of the fact that energy consumption accounts for the major part of defence budgets and increased cost of military operations.


Two documents will provide the basis for the defence ministerial in Vilnius. The first will be the interim report on the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The President of the European Council will be referring to the report revised at the EU Defence Ministers meeting when delivering concrete proposals at the December European Council of Defence. The second document will be the Communiqué on the European Defence and Security Sector “Towards a More Competitive and Efficient Defence and Security Sector” the European Commission released in July earlier this year.  


The informal EU Defence Ministers meeting is also expected to address issues of EU military operations, EU security partnerships the strengthening of which is one of Lithuania’s priorities of the EU Presidency.   


Approximately 350 participants are expected to take part in the informal Defence Ministers meeting in Vilnius. The meeting will be chaired by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The event will also be attended by European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier. The attendance of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also indicates the importance of the meeting agenda.  Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) General Patrick de Rousiers, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Claude-France Arnould, commanders of the EU operations ATALANTA, ALTHEA and training missions in Somalia and Mali will be among the participants as well. 


21 delegations of the arriving 28 member states will be led by their Defence Ministers.

In the margins of the Vilnius defence ministerial the delegations will have bilateral and multilateral meetings.


On 5 September a meeting of Defence Ministers of the United Kingdom, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden, nations contributing military personnel to the EU BG currently on standby, will meet at the National Art Gallery, the man venue for the defence ministerial.


On 6 September Minister of National Defence J. Olekas will hold bilateral meetings with Philip Hammond, UK Secretary of State for Defence, and Mario Mauro, Italian Minister of Defence in Vilnius.  


On 6 September General Sir Richard Shirreff, Operation Commander of EUFOR ALTHEA and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) are scheduled to visit the Ministry of National Defence and meet with Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius and Vice Minister of National Defence Marijus Velička.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
EU Defense Ministers to Discuss Key Policy Proposals

Sep. 4, 2013 - By JULIAN HALE – Defense News


BRUSSELS — European Union defense ministers will meet informally in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 5 and 6 to discuss two key defense policy reports ahead of a summit of EU leaders on defense in Brussels in December.


One report, by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, focuses on the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and the other is a European Commission report aimed at creating a more competitive and efficient European security and defense sector.


Discussions on Ashton report will home in on two proposals. The first urges increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of the CSDP, and enhancing the development of defense capabilities.


Ashton’s report calls for making cyber infrastructure more secure and resilient withing the EU and elsewhere. She is also pushing for the issue of more common EU funding to be addressed by member states and wants ministers to approve a new approach to the EU’s rapid response assets, including battlegroups, in November. The latter ties in with one of Lithuania’s priorities for its six-month presidency of the European Union (June to December), namely to increase the effectiveness of EU battlegroups as a crisis management tool.


The second proposal calls on EU governments to share their plans on major projects in areas such as aerial refueling, umanned aircraft, cyber operations and satellite communications. However, no update on pooling and sharing projects is planned during the defense ministers’ meeting.


During the meeting, Lithuania stress issues that are on its EU presidency agenda, such as the development of the EU’s response to emerging challenges in the energy security, cyber, maritime and space domains. Military energy efficiency also is a particular focus for Lithuania.


During a working dinner on Thursday, ministers will be briefed by the chairman of the Military Committee and the Operation Commanders on the ongoing military CSDP operations (Althea, Atalanta, EUTM Somalia, EUTM Mali) and will discuss partnerships in the context of operations. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will attend on Thursday and has said he will discuss EU-NATO defense cooperation.


The Syria crisis is not on the agenda but is expected to be discussed. However, Syria will also be discussed by EU foreign ministers at their informal meeting Sept. 6 and 7.

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19 août 2013 1 19 /08 /août /2013 16:50
FFDj : soutien au déploiement lituanien dans le cadre de l’opération Atalante

08/08/2013 Sources : EMA


Le 1er août 2013, un avion de l’armée lituanienne a atterri à l’aéroport de Djibouti avec à son bord de l’armement, des munitions, du matériel médical et des médicaments au profit des militaires lituaniens engagée dans l’opération de lutte contre la piraterie Atalante.


L’avion a été pris en charge par les militaires des Forces françaises stationnées à Djibouti (FFDj) dans le cadre du soutien apporté par les FFDj à l’opération Atalante. L’ensemble des manœuvres nécessaires à l’arrivée et au déchargement de l’avion ont été effectuées avec l’aide des FFDj : accueil, stationnement, déchargement et stockage de la cargaison. Les FFDj ont également soutenu l’équipe lituanienne pour son acheminement jusqu’au port.


Il s’agit de la première participation d’une équipe de protection embarquée (EPE) lituanienne à l’opération Atalante et du premier déplacement en Afrique pour ce détachement. Elle embarque au mois d’août à bord d’un navire affrété par le Programme Alimentaire Mondial (PAM) afin d’assurer la protection de l’équipage et de son chargement.


Depuis le début de l’opération Atalante, en accord avec l’arrangement local signé entre l’union européenne et les FFDj, en date du 31 mars 2009, l’ensemble des unités et directions des FFDj apportent un soutien logistique et opérationnel pour l’ensemble du domaine couvrant les activités aériennes et navales de l’opération Atalante, c’est-à-dire dans les domaines techniques, administratifs, médical, du transport ou de la sécurité.

FFDj : soutien au déploiement lituanien dans le cadre de l’opération Atalante

Le 1er août 2013, un avion de l’armée lituanienne a atterri à l’aéroport de Djibouti avec à son bord de l’armement, des munitions, du matériel médical et des médicaments au profit des militaires lituaniens engagée dans l’opération de lutte contre la piraterie Atalante.

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28 mai 2013 2 28 /05 /mai /2013 20:50
Estonia Completes Military Drills with NATO Allies

TALLINN, May 26 (RIA Novosti)


Estonia completed on Saturday large-scale military drills, which began on May 9 and involved some 5,000 military personnel, including from NATO allies, the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces said.


The Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) drills have been held annually in different parts of Estonia since 2003. This year they were held in northern and central Estonia and involved for the first time units from the UK, Belgium and Poland as well as the Estonian navy.


“Our military servicemen gained experience of cooperation with pilots from Poland, air defense experts from Belgium, infantrymen from Britain, Latvia and Lithuania by participating in joint drills,” Estonian Commander in Chief Gen.-Maj. Riho Terras said at a line-up in the village of Kuusalu.


NATO allies were represented by an infantry company from the UK and Latvia each, a reconnaissance platoon from Lithuania and an anti-aircraft missile platoon from Belgium.


The exercise also involved Polish attack aircraft SU-22, Estonia's training jets L-39, light helicopters R-44, light transport planes An-2 and French Mirage F-1 aircraft, according to Estonian newspaper Postimees.


President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves attended the large-scale military exercise on May 17.


Estonia, as well as two other ex-Soviet republics in the Baltics - Latvia and Lithuania, joined NATO in March 2004.

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28 mai 2013 2 28 /05 /mai /2013 20:40
Baltic States Prepare for International Saber Strike Exercise

TALLINN, May 27 (RIA Novosti)


Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are preparing to take part in a large-scale international exercise, Saber Strike, to take place in early June, Estonian TV reported on Sunday.


Saber Strike is a USAREUR (United States Army in Europe)-led theater security cooperation exercise to be conducted in the Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on June 3-14. It will involve approximately 2000 personnel from the three Baltic States, the United States, Finland, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as forces from the Polish headquarters of NATO’s Multinational Corps Northeast.


“The main headquarters will be located in Lithuania. Air forces and the Corps Northeast will be deployed in Estonia. Latvia will host the practical part of the exercises,” said an Estonian official charged with planning the exercise, Lt. Col. Tiit Paljak.



On Friday, the Polish Navy landing ships Lublin and Poznan brought 100 metric tons of military equipment to the Estonian city of Paldiski. The two vessels brought 17 vehicles and 50 members of the Polish and German defense forces.


On the same day, a nine-car train arrived in Pabrade railway station in Lithuania, bringing US military equipment from Germany, including vehicles and trucks and a medical support unit.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 12:50
photo Lithuanian presidency.

photo Lithuanian presidency.

Brussels | May 17, 2013

EDA Chief Executive, Ms Claude-France Arnould, visited Lithuania on 13-14 May, in preparation of Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union starting on 1 July 2013.


Ms Arnould had meetings with the Minister of National Defence, Mr Juozas Olekas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Linas Linkevičius, and senior officials of the Ministry of Defence.  Ms Arnould also visited the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence.  The discussions held in Vilnius focused on the preparations of the Lithuanian EU Presidency, in particular the European Council discussing defence matters, which will be a key event for defining how  Europe can collectively act to preserve and develop its defence capabilities. One focus area of cooperative efforts between the Lithuanian EU Presidency and EDA is energy security, where EDA’s Military Green work strand and the GO GREEN project are harnessing European efforts for sustainable energy for defence. EDA support to Lithuania’s national defence capability development, small and medium-sized enterprises, and regional cooperation were also highlighted in the discussions. 


More information:

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23 mai 2013 4 23 /05 /mai /2013 11:50
Royal Marines prepare themselves during a public order demonstration [Picture: Corporal Lu Scott, UK MoD]

Royal Marines prepare themselves during a public order demonstration [Picture: Corporal Lu Scott, UK MoD]

21 May 2013 Ministry of Defence


Royal Marines from 42 Commando have been exercising their hostile action skills with EU partner forces on Salisbury Plain.


The Royal Marines and personnel from Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden and the Netherlands all form the EU Battle Group (EUBG) which provides a military rapid response force. All these countries took part in the exercise which took place last week.

The EUBG is made up of an infantry battalion with additional combat support, combat service support, and enablers, totalling between 1,500 and 3,000 military personnel.

During the exercise, the EUBG personnel were faced with a number of scenarios including dealing with hostile action at a checkpoint and controlling a public disturbance.

Dr Andrew Murrison
Dr Andrew Murrison addresses troops on Salisbury Plain [Picture: Corporal Lu Scott, Crown copyright]

Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison, who attended the exercise, said:

Our primary focus remains on delivering European capabilities through NATO, but the EU can have a very important role in taking on tasks that are not suitable for NATO.

The UK supports the EU’s complementary defence role and has consistently made it clear that we would like to see many of our European partners do more to generate greater deployable capability, whether that’s through mechanisms such as the EUBG or bilaterally through arrangements such as the UKNL [UK/Netherlands] Amphibious Force, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

I found the capabilities demonstrated on Salisbury Plain deeply impressive. The EUBG is an adaptable and capable force and also an effective vehicle for improving the armed forces of member states. It is very clear that the militaries of the 5 contributing nations are at ease with one another and ready to deploy together if the need arises.

The UK supports the EUBG and our participation this year follows similar contributions in 2005 and 2008, when we provided battle groups on a UK national basis, and in 2010, when the battle group was based on the UKNL Amphibious Force.

Salisbury Plain Training Area is maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which delivers the Training Service.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hiskett, Principal Training Safety Officer, DIO Ops Training South West, said:

DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces and their allies as they prepare for operations. This exercise was the first of its kind for us and was an essential opportunity for these disparate organisations to come together and conduct joint planning and training.

The size and nature of Salisbury Plain means that it offers excellent training facilities, ideal conditions and the perfect backdrop for complex and diverse exercises such as these.

At over 38,000 hectares (94,000 acres) the Plain is the UK’s largest training area and offers first-class and diverse training facilities to enable the British Army to meet its training requirements to prepare for operations worldwide.

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