On December 20 the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania approved the new 10-year Plan for National Defence System Development which will be in force instead of the one approved in 2014 and made completely irrelevant by the changed regional security environment and increased defence budget. The new program not only sets out the goals, objectives, and priorities for the National Defence System, defines key means to achieve the said objectives, but also sets out deadlines concerning the objectives, the desired results, and their assessment criteria.
The central goal of the National Defence System development remains to be readiness for national-level or collective defence of the country: enhancement of military power of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, readiness to host military forces of NATO allies deployed to Lithuania in case of a crisis, involvement of different state institutions and citizens into preparation for defence, and resilience to cyber and information attacks.
“This programme is a tool for the National Defence System to ensure a consistent and measured planning of defence capability development that makes it possible to make the most rational decisions regarding procurement of equipment and weaponry, to ensure efficient spending of the growing defence budget, and most importantly – it helps the National Defence System to be even more transparent and open,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis underscored after presenting the programme to the Seimas.
The programme is planned to be implemented in 2019-2028. It is aimed at making the Lithuanian Armed Forces able to ensure a reliable deterrence and armed defence of the country. Development of land warfare capabilities through efficient reconnaissance, movement of units, maneuver, fire support power, airspace defence, logistical support, and safe information transfer, as well as cyber security, remains to be the main priority of the National Defence System Development.
Among the measures laid out in the programme, there are measures for increasing appeal of service with the Lithuanian Armed Forces – it is planned to complete the soldiers salary increase programme which began in 2016 and to increase the salaries by 30% by 2020. A personnel reserve reform is planned to be conducted to form active reserve service in which would last for 10 years after becoming a reservist. At the same time, the number of reserve soldiers who refresh knowledge and skills will be increased, with a particular focus on training specialists and personnel for positions of command that the Lithuanian Armed Forces need. The programme also includes measures for boosting citizen’s patriotism and will to defence the country, and their resilience to information attacks and propaganda.
“We continue seeking a new quality of planning and activity at the National Defence System. Therefore we have embedded a novelty in this programme – over three months from approval by the Seimas, we will table for the Government of the Republic of Lithuania a 10-year National Defence System capability-related procurement plan and a personnel increase plan to agree to. That will help us ensure a balanced and consistent planning of defence capability development,” Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis said.
The National Defence System Development Programme is one of the four long-term security of the state enhancement programmes the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania approves. They are drafted in accordance to the Law on the Basics of National Security and the Long-term Security of the State Enhancement Programmes Drafting Plan.