Collective defence addressed at U.S.-Lithuanian CHOD meeting

Collective defence addressed at U.S.-Lithuanian CHOD meeting

Chief of Defence of Lithuania Gen Valdemaras Rupšys met with the top U.S. military leader Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, equivalent of the Chief of Defence, General Charles Q. Brown Jr during his working visit to the United States.  The meeting in bilateral format at the Pentagon addressed the military ties between Lithuania and the United States, collective defence, defence plans, the continued heel-to-toe presence of the U.S. military capability and equipment in Lithuania. According to Chief of Defence, collective NATO defence and Allied force presence in Lithuania and across the region is the cornerstone deterrent against the enemy.

According to Gen Valdemaras Rupšys, the U.S. forces serving in Pabradė, over 1000 U.S. troops armed with the cutting-edge Abrams version, artillery and other weaponry systems, are a particularly high-readiness unit. Its level of readiness, weaponry, ammunition and enablers makes it robust for actual combat anytime. The potential aggressor can see and understand it and is deterred.

The battalion-sized U.S. unit deployed in Lithuania, as well as the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion and the German enhanced Vigilance Activity Brigade assigned to Lithuania is already subordinate to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and can be activated without the need to wait for activation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.   

Further building of deterrence in the Baltic region, i.e. ensuring the U.S. military presence in the region, including the uninterrupted rotations of the battalion-sized force, is agreed on in the Defence Cooperation Roadmap signed by the Ministry of National Defence and the U.S. Department of Defense on 15 December 2023. The Lithuanian and U.S. Chiefs of Defence discussed options of deploying to the region components of other U.S. armed services: air, maritime, and other.  According to General Rupšys, excellent multidimensional combination of services is the key to success on the modern battlefield. 

Lithuanian and U.S. Chiefs of Defence exchanged security situation assessments and discussed assistance to Ukraine.  General Charles Q. Brown Jr. thanked the Lithuanian Armed Forces for the assistance extended to Ukraine and the initiative to join the international effort in the Indo-Pacific. 

During the trip to the United States Chief of Defence Gen Valdemaras Rupšys also had a meeting with Vice Chief of the Pennsylvania National Guard Bureau Lieutenant General Marc H. Sasseville and Adjutant General of Pennsylvania (PANG) Major General Mark J. Schindler. The tight cooperation between the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the PANG spanning three decades has been recognized as a model of cooperation by the U.S. Allies.    

Other topics addressed at the meeting were combat training, participation in joint exercises, U.S. assistance in the development of the national Lithuanian division element: command and control capability, combat support capabilities, including the HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, development and officer training.   

The United States is Lithuania’s strategic partner and remains the central security guarantee for the Baltic region since deploying the uninterrupted battalion-sized rotational U.S. force in 2019 and augmenting it to a battalion and an artillery battery in 2022. Lithuania has procured from the U.S. the HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Joint light Tactical Vehicles JLTV (Lithuania is the largest JLTV buyer in Europe), UH-60 helicopters, JAVELIN anti-tank missile systems, AMRAAM missiles, drones, radars, radio stations, etc. In total, acquisitions from the United States amount to nearly 1/5 of National Defence System acquisitions.

Photo courtesy of the Pentagon