Arvydas Pocius, Chief of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania
Chief of Defence
Arvydas Pocius was born on 14 May 1957 in port city Klaipėda, Lithuania. In 1971 as a schoolboy he entered a free-style wrestling section and later became Lithuanian champion in junior, youth and adult groups.
In 1975 A. Pocius graduated from high school and started studies in Institute of Physical Education (today -Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education). During the studies he actively participated in sports, especially in judo, self-defense and free-style wrestling. A. Pocius achieved the name of Master of Sports of USSR (according to Sports Classification System of Soviet Union) in judo (black belt) and free-style wrestling.
In 1979 he graduated from the Academy and worked as a coach of free-style wrestling, later judo.
In 1979 after graduation from reserve officer course in Kaliningrad District, USSR, he gained Soviet Army (SA) Mechanized infantry platoon leader qualification and was commissioned to the rank of lieutenant (Reserve).
In 1988 while working in Lithuanian Physical Culture and Sports Committee as chief coach of judo and self-defense wrestling, A. Pocius joined Freedom Movement "Sąjūdis" as a security guard in so called Green Armlet Group. He guarded leaders of "Sąjūdis" and ensured order during Freedom Movement demonstrations. On 16 February 1990 during the protest demonstration against Soviet regime at the Supreme Council he officially resigned the rank of SA reserve officer and military oath. For this reason by the order of the defense minister of the USSR was down-graded to private (Reserve).
On 11 January 1991 A. Pocius swore an oath to the Republic of Lithuania in the Reconstituent Parliament. As a soldier-volunteer he defended Parliament of Lithuania during dramatic acts of Soviet aggression that caused deaths of Lithuanian people and serviceman in January and August 1991.
In March 1991 he joined Voluntary Service of National Defence. On 30 December 1991 as Deputy Chief of Staff of Voluntary Service of National Defence A. Pocius was promoted to the rank of Major (Lithuanian Army).
In 1993 A. Pocius was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1994 A. Pocius was assigned as a Commander of Voluntary Service of National Defence.
Arvydas Pocius joined Command and General Staff Course, Bundeswehr Command Academy (Germany) in 1996. After graduation he was promoted to the rank of colonel and took over a position of Commander of National Defence Volunteer Service in 1997.
A. Pocius was assigned to Command the Military District - East of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 2002.
In 2003-2004 A. Pocius studied at US Army War College and completed the course of strategic studies.
On 30 June 2004 Arvydas Pocius was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and was assigned as a Commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces.
In June 2007 A. Pocius graduated from Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science and gained Master's degree in Political Science. In autumn of the same year Brigadier General A. Pocius was assigned as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (DACOS) of the Joint Education and Training Sub-Division at the NATO HQ Allied Command Transformation.
On 24 July 2009 Arvydas Pocius was assigned as Chief of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania and was promoted to the rank of Major General.
On 28 July 2011 Arvydas Pocius was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Lieutenant General A. Pocius during 20 years of service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces was awarded Order of the Cross of Vytis, Medal of January 13, Medal of the Founders Volunteers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Commemorative Badge of Russian Army withdrawal from Lithuania, Medal of Merit of National Defence System, etc. In 2011 he was inducted to the US Army War College International Fellows Hall of Fame
During his military career A. Pocius has attended numerous carrier related courses.
Arvydas Pocius is married to Namida, has a son Tadas and a daughter Akvilė. Lieutenant General is fond of fishing, hunting and sports; he is also interested in the history of Lithuanian warfare.