On April 22 Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys attended a teleconference meeting of Chiefs of Defence of the United Kingdom-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) partner countries.
The nine Chiefs of Defence discussed military operations, JEF activities and possibilities to expand them, and combat training. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Armed Forces activities was also addressed.
"The novel virus has had an impact on the routine activities of the Armed Forces but it has not affected its main mission: to be ready for armed defence of the state. The Lithuanian Armed Forces have decreased the scope of combat training for the quarantine period and applied additional health protection requirements. That has made effective containment of individual cases possible and protected high combat readiness of both, Lithuanian and foreign units in Lithuania," Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys said to his JEF counterparts.
Chief of Defence of Lithuania also pointed out that our Armed Forces was assisting civilian institutions, and the Ministries of Health and the Interior in the fight against COVID-19, the same way other JEF partner countries' militaries did.
The high-readiness rapid response multinational force comprising 10 thousand troops can be activated to respond to emergencies in Europe and beyond any time necessary. The JEF is deployed upon the decision of partner nations.
Concept of the JEF differs from international organizations, however, the force stands ready to deploy to humanitarian assistance, deterrence, or any type of a combat operation according to NATO standards and procedures. In case of necessity, the JEF can be deployed in support of EU, UN or NATO operations.
A company-sized Lithuanian unit assigned to the JEF is attached to the Danish Army Battle Group, and one military medic is assigned to the UK field hospital. Also ,one Lithuanian officer has been serving at the JEF operational HQ in Northwood, UK, since early 2016.
The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania has mandated deployment of Lithuanian military capabilities to operations in composition of the NATO Response Force, EU Battle Groups, and the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, therefore as soon as there is a political decision, there is a legal basis at the ready to send our soldiers to ensure crisis management.
Spokesperson for the Chief of Defence of Lithuania Maj Tomas Balkus
+370 5 278 5091, +370 682 25359, email@example.com
Photo credit: Sgt Spc 1st Class Ieva Budzeikaitė