Lithuania is considering legislation to boost recruitment levels

The Lithuanian government has expressed its intention to “improve existing recruitment procedures”, according to the statement said Deputy Minister of Defense Žilvinas Tomkus.

In releasing a list of conscripts due to enter compulsory military service in 2024, Tomkus underlined the need to “ensure adequate preparation of the armed forces for the defense of the country”.

The Baltic nation sits on NATO’s eastern side and shares a 185-mile (297-kilometer) border with Russia. As a member of the military alliance, the country is well supported by the organization’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup.

In total, the Lithuanian armed forces include approximately 11,545 active military personnel, according to Government figures 2022. This does not include 5,381 volunteers and more than 3,500 conscripts who serve for nine months.

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Over the past three years, the country’s recruitment rates have remained steady, with little visible increase since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – a threat that prompted Europe to pay due attention to its defense, lulled by years of relative complacency.

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In 2022, the government called up 3,828 conscripts to serve in the armed forces. In 2023, there were 3,845 people, 14% of whom were recruited into professional military service. The number of conscripts in 2024 also reached 3,845 people.

In total, the draft list for 2024 includes 27,000 young people who have not obtained basic education and are of conscription age between 19 and 23, as well as former students aged up to 26 who have been suspended due to their studies, and who have completed or left their studies in the previous year (2023).

From these, the conscripts are drafted according to the serial number created in the recruitment list to carry out the recruitment procedures, i.e. the submission of the information required for the military register, the submission of supporting documents justifying a possible postponement of the service and the attendance of a medical check-up.

Conscripts declared medically fit for military service are called into service.

Improving existing processes for 2025

Asked about the deputy minister’s comment on improving existing recruitment processes, the Ministry of National Defense said Army Technology that some changes may be made which could come into effect in 2025, provided Parliament approves the new amendments to the law.

“One of the most important changes in the law is the invitation of young people to fulfill the initial compulsory military service immediately after leaving school, as well as the invitation of students and legal employees.

“The changes to the legislation also seek to address the situation of young people who are medically unfit for military service. Some of them would like to undergo compulsory military service and therefore these amendments to the law propose a different form of service that will allow these young people to complete the compulsory initial military service.

“Another innovation is the differentiation of the service period: after the adoption of amendments to the law, conscripts will be called up for mandatory initial military service for a period of nine months, but depending on the needs of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the period of service could be reduced in six months.”

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