Chairman of NATO Military Committee commends Lithuania's strong support of NATO
On 24-26 September, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, visited Vilnius, Lithuania. While in Lithuania, the Chairman met with Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupsys, Chief of Defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, held discussions with senior military representatives of Lithuania, visited the Lithuanian Parliament and met with His Excellency, Mr. Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Parliament. The Chairman also toured NATO’s Centre of Excellence for Energy Security before receiving a briefing on its latest projects. Topics of discussion during the visit focused on the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic area, fair burden sharing, and increasing NATO and National resilience.
Arriving at the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Peach was welcomed with an Honour Guard before Lieutenant General Rupsys greeted him. The Chairman commended Lithuania’s contributions to NATO’s operations and missions, its offering of national cyber capabilities to help counter hybrid challenges as well as its hosting of NATO’s Centre of Excellence for Energy Security. In discussions with senior military officials at the Ministry of Defence, the NATO Chairman stated how impressed he was by the professionalism and dedication of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, at NATO Headquarters and on Operations.
NATO does not have its own forces; it is Allies who contribute troops and capabilities to operations and missions, which make up a NATO force. Air Chief Marshal stressed, “Since joining the Alliance, Lithuania has been a staunch Ally, contributing its forces whenever possible. Today it hosts an enhanced forward presence battlegroup, a NATO force integration unit as well as allowing the Alliance to base its Air Policing mission from Siauliai Air Base. It has troops in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as ships in our Standing Naval Forces. These are clear demonstrations that NATO can rely on Lithuania”.
Meeting His Excellency, Mr. Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Parliament, the Chairman thanked him for the Lithuania’s continued support of the Alliance and how it leads by example on defence spending. Lithuania is investing in major equipment and has committed to spending 2% of its GDP on defence. Lithuania is also part of the group of Allies and partners that own the Strategic Airlift Capability managed by NATO. Strategic Airlift has played an important role during the coronavirus pandemic enabling the transport of medical equipment to Allies and Partners.
During his visit of NATO’s Centre of Excellence for Energy Security, the Chairman was briefed on the importance of Energy Security and national resilience. Air Chief Marshal Peach stressed that a stable and reliable energy supply, with diverse routes and suppliers, increases the Alliance’s resilience against political and economic pressure. Therefore, NATO is expanding its ties with the International Energy Agency and the European Union on energy issues.
The Chairman stipulated, “The Alliance is enhancing the protection of our energy infrastructure, ensuring our technological edge, and stepping up our response to hybrid threats. We must keep strengthening our cyber defences and energy security as we learn lessons from the pandemic and prepare for the next crisis. A stable and reliable energy supply, with diverse routes and suppliers, increases our resilience against political and economic pressure’.