President on proposed conscription reform: Lithuania must move toward universal defense

  • 2023-01-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Any proposals that take Lithuania closer to the principle of universal defense are worth considering, President Gitanas Nauseda said on Thursday, commenting on an initiative to reform the military conscription system. 

"We have to understand that in the current circumstances, it is very important for Lithuania to move toward the principle of universal defense and to rapidly increase the number and ranks of trained reservists," Nauseda told a news conference. 

"In this sense, all proposals are worth considering if they will help us to move toward the principle of universal defense, which is sacred, necessary and adequate to the situation, and I hope that together we will be able to move toward this goal," he said. 

Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas has recently unveiled proposals to shorten the duration of the basic compulsory military service to six months, offer more alternatives to it and increase the annual number of draftees to 5,000 starting in 2027, from the current 3,800. 

After completing their six-month service, young people would be able to remain in the Armed Forces voluntarily for a further three months and would be paid the salary of a professional service member for the period. 

Under the new model, the Armed Forces would also be able to call up higher education graduates for three months to fill a shortage of specialties.

If approved by the parliament, the reform will be phased gradually from 2024 to 2027.