Number of professional soldiers in Lithuania to double over next five years

  • 2015-05-06
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, VILNIUS

The number of Lithuanian professional soldiers is expected to double over the next five years, according to new projections from the Ministry of National Defence. It is planned that in 2016 Lithuania will have from 9,000 to 10,000 professional soldiers, and by 2021 the number is expected to reach 14,000-19,000.

Based on the draft law on the Principal Structure of the Armed Forces by 2021 which was prepared by the Ministry of National Defence in 2016 Lithuania should have a total of 17,000-21,000 soldiers - 9,000-10,000 professionals and 3,350-4,000 conscripts. In 2016, similar as this year, 3,000-3,500 conscripts should be drafted for mandatory military service.

It is projected that in 2021 the number of soldiers should total 19,600-25,500, of whom 14,000-19,000 will be professionals.

In April the State Defence Council decided to create one more motorised infantry brigade in western Lithuania. In 2016 the brigade's headquarters will be established and two battalions attached: the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kestutis Motorized Infantry Battalion and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion. By 2021 it should be complemented by new infantry and artillery battalions. 

Currently, according to the Ministry of National Defence, the number of active military personnel is around 7,900.