Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley in Washington during a visit to the United States of America. It is the top military officer position of the United States that fills the role of the Chief of Defence. The Lithuanian and U.S. Chiefs of Defence discussed defence cooperation as concerns training and exercises, enhancement of regional defence and security based on the persistent U.S. troop presence in Lithuania, and assistance with modernization of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, as well as assistance to Ukraine.
“The United States of America is a strategic ally to Lithuania, it has a high regard of the modernization efforts made by Lithuania as a member of NATO and our readiness to defend against potential aggressors with own capabilities, it provides for aid for replenishing weaponry stocks transferred to Ukraine. One of the most important points General Mark A. Milley made was the assurance of a persistent deployment of U.S. troops in Lithuania,” underscored Chief of Defence of Lithuania.
The rotational U.S. troops have changed over at the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area at Pabradė just recently. Military personnel and equipment of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, or 1-66, were replaced by U.S. Army service members and equipment of the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Task Force , 1st Infantry Division (Steel Dragon) and the 2nd Battalion, 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Ghost Battalion). The new U.S. rotation brought heavy weapons – M109A6 Paladin self-propelled 155 mm howitzers, M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, M1068A3 armored carrier vehicles, and other equipment.
Particular attention at the meeting with General Mark A. Milley was paid to the development of future cooperation, enhancement of Lithuanian Armed Forces air defence, cybersecurity and intelligence capabilities, assistance in the modernization of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and other important sectors of bilateral partnership.
Lithuania’s national security interests and cooperation with the U.S .are also developed by means of the modernization of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and acquiring cutting-edge military equipment. On the basis of contracts between the Lithuania and the U.S. Government the Lithuanian Armed Forces equipment pool will be supplemented by 200 JLTV Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and 4 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, also, Avenger short-range surface-to-air defence systems, Paladin self-propelled field artillery systems and more equipment were delivered to Lithuania this spring. Lithuania proceeds with the development of the NASAMS National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System project and established the Baltic Special Operations Forces Intelligence Fusion Cell in Kaunas through cooperation with the United States Special Operations Forces to facilitate intelligence exchange on potential threats among the Baltic states.
An intensified and more frequent U.S. participation in exercises in the Baltic region strengthens the readiness and ability to understand the training material of Lithuania and the neighbor states. The U.S. contributes significantly with training of specialist personnel and teams for operation of the newly acquired weapon systems, arranges joint Lithuanian-US live-fire, fire control and coordination exercises (JTAC/TACP qualification courses), military engineer courses and medical training. The United States supports training of the National Defence Volunteer Force and NCO training, shares experience in developing the Lithuanian Land Force division-level Mission Command Element (MCE). The U.S. also supports the Lithuanian Air Force in training air force officers, future UH-60 Black Hawk pilots, arranges air operations planning course, liaison officer, air cargo loader and airlift courses and workshops.