The Lithuanian Government has expressed its intent to “improve existing conscription procedures,” according to a statement made by the Deputy Defence Minister Žilvinas Tomkus.
While releasing a list of conscripts due to enter compulsory military service in 2024, Tomkus outlined the need to “ensure adequate preparation of the armed forces for the defence of the country.”
The Baltic nation is located on Nato’s eastern flank, sharing a border with Russia 185 miles long (297 kilometres). As a member of the military alliance the country is well-supported by the organisation’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battalion battle group.
In total, the Lithuanian armed forces comprise around 11,545 active service personnel, according to 2022 Government figures. This excludes 5,381 volunteers and more than 3,500 conscripts that serve for nine months.
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Over the past three years, the country’s conscription figures remained steady, with little discernible growth since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – a threat that prompted Europe to give due consideration to their defence, sleepy from years of relative complacency.
In 2022, the Government called up 3,828 conscripts to service in the armed forces. In 2023, there were 3,845 people, 14% of whom were recruited into the professional military service. The number of conscripts in 2024 also came to 3,845 people.
Overall, the 2024 list of conscripts include 27,000 young people who have not acquired basic training and are of conscriptable age from 19 to 23 years inclusive, as well as former students up to and including 26 years of age who have been deferred from the service due to their studies, and who have completed or dropped out of their studies in the previous year (2023).
Of these, conscripts are drafted according to the serial number generated in the conscription list to carry out the conscription procedures, i.e., to submit the data required for the military record, to submit documents justifying a possible deferment of service, and to attend a medical check-up.
Conscripts declared medically fit for military service are called up for service.
Improving existing procedures for 2025
When asked about the Deputy Minister’s comment to improve existing conscription procedures, the Ministry of National Defence told Army Technology that certain changes may be made that could enter into force in 2025, provided Parliament adopts the new amendments to the law.
“One of the most important changes to the law is the invitation for young people to perform compulsory initial military service immediately after leaving school, as well as the call-up of university students and statutory officers.
“Changes to the law also seek to address the situation of young people who are medically unable to perform military service. Some of them would like to undergo compulsory military service, and these amendments to the law, therefore, propose a different format of service to enable such young people to complete compulsory initial military service.
“Another innovation is the differentiation of the period of service: after the adoption of amendments to the law, conscripts would be called up for compulsory 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 shortened to six months.”