The US Army will send approximately 80 soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division’s Mission Command Element (MCE) to join combined training exercises in Lithuania.
Starting today, the MCE members will be training at Adolfas Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre Nemencine for one week, before joining training exercises across several regions of the country.
The US troops will partner with soldiers assigned to the Lithuanian Land Force Headquarters to conduct joint training to exchange experience and hone interoperability, while familiarising soldiers with the specifics and geography of Lithuania and its regions.
Lithuanian Land Force chief of staff colonel Dalius Polekauskas said: "We hope this joint exercise with the MCE of the 4th Infantry Division is just one in a series of joint future events that will only become more numerous with time and which will grow into a wider-spectrum cooperation."
Currently deployed in Germany, the Mission Command Element serves an intermediate headquarters responsible for the US-led Operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic States and Poland.
The US continues to reassure its commitment to the security of the Baltic region through the development of cooperation between Lithuania and the 4th Infantry Division and enhancement of interaction with the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The country recently announced plans to deploy heavy weaponry, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and pieces of artillery, in the Baltic States, starting early 2016.
In addition, the government has also expressed interest in strengthening cooperation with Lithuania in the areas of logistics, both strategic and tactical, as well as cybersecurity.
US Department of Defense Defense Security Cooperation deputy assistant secretary Thomas Ross said: "Cyber security is among the areas we would like to see an enhanced Lithuanian – US cooperation.
Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said: "The US funds allotted for strengthening Lithuania’s defence capabilities are substantially building on the national readiness to respond to the present security challenges effectively."
Image: The US Army 4th Infantry Division’s MCE soldiers will arrive in Lithuania to join combined training. Photo: copyright Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania.