Facing the shifts in geopolitical situation and seeking to reinforce Lithuania's defence capabilities, as well as to man units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces fully and to increase the numbers of reserve, the Parliament of Lithuania (Seimas) adopted decision to reintroduce the compulsory military service in Spring 2015. The decision to reintroduce conscript service was determined by two main reasons: changed geopolitical situation and insufficient manning of the units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Some 3, 500-4,000 Lithuanian citizens of conscript age (19-26) for a period of 9 months are enlisted each year. There is also a possibility to do this service on a voluntary basis - male and female citizens of Lithuania of age 18-38 years are invited to enlist for the service on a voluntary basis. Lithuania's youth are patriotic and have will to gain skills of protecting their homeland, their families if needed. Need to mention that conscript soldiers are paid monthly allowances and cumulative payment after service (maximum total ~3.000 Eur), which depend upon the military service performance level (excellent/good/satisfactory). Moreover, their current or new employer after service is paid 6 months' subsidy, which increases chances of finding work.
So far, from Spring 2015 when the conscription service has been reintroduced in the Lithuanian Armed Forces, vast majority of youth have chosen to perform the military service voluntarily, others are draftees who expressed their will to be conscripted on the priority basis.
Conscription procedure is carried out in accordance with the Law on Military Conscription. Based on that, Draftee list is being made up each year and it includes male Lithuanian citizens of compulsory military service eligible age (19-26). For making the list, automatic electronic selection system is used. To ensure transparency and objectivity of the process, the making the conscription list is observed by representatives of public organizations.
The Draftee list includes persons of conscription-eligible age (25,000 in 2017), who were chosen randomly by the computer program from the pool of all the potential draftees, who are fit for service (no medical reasons and no grounds for deferment). Draftee quantity was calculated according to the data and experience of earlier drafts.
After 9 month service conscripts are included in the list of prepared military reserved of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Some of them stay in the Armed Forces to pursue military career (eg. about 600 conscript soldiers after their conscript service joined the professional military service in 2017).
Who can perform permanent compulsory initial military service?
Young men between 18 and 23 years of age (e.g., men born between 1997 and 2001 will be called in 2020) with no basic military training, who have not been released from military service or for whom military service has not been postponed are called to perform permanent compulsory initial military service. Permanent compulsory initial military service may be performed voluntarily by men and women between 18 and 38 years of age.
Where does permanent compulsory initial military service take place and for how long?
According to the plan approved by the Commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces for conscription of citizens to permanent compulsory initial military service, in 2020, conscripts will perform permanent compulsory initial military service in the following units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
What do conscripts learn during permanent compulsory military service?
During their first weeks of training, conscripts of the permanent compulsory initial military service will learn basic military knowledge and skills: military tactics, engineering, topography, formation, communications and medicine. They will be familiarised with various weapons and means of communication. After undergoing initial training, conscripts will acquire a military specialty (shooter, machine gunner, grenade launcher, etc.). For the remaining time of service, soldiers will learn to operate as part of a unit (division, platoon, company, etc.), and improve their battlefield skills according to the military specialties and duties assigned to them. After completing permanent compulsory initial military service, conscripts can apply to join professional military service, or volunteer military service, or they will be assigned to the prepared personnel reserve of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
What social guarantees apply to conscripts undergoing permanent compulsory initial military service?
Conscripts undergoing permanent compulsory initial military service will be fully supported by the State (provided with accommodation, food, clothing, social and life insurances). Each conscript will receive a monthly allowance of 144.30 € for covering household expenses. In addition, special monthly benefits will be accrued for soldiers which they can use at their discretion and which are paid out to soldiers after they complete their military service. Benefit size depends on the results of evaluation of the service performed. If military service performed by a soldier is rated as very good, four basic social benefits shall be calculated per one month of service (156 €), when rated as good – three basic social benefits shall be calculated (117 €), and when it is rated as satisfactory – two basic social benefits will be calculated (78 €). Cumulative benefits increase by 30 percent for soldiers who perform military service voluntarily, and cumulative benefits increase by 15 percent for conscripts who were called to serve and expressed a wish to perform military service in order of priority. For employers: If you allow your employee to perform permanent compulsory initial military service, you will be entitled to receive a subsidy for 6 calendar months to compensate the employee's salary and social security. You will receive the same subsidy if you hire a conscript who completed his or her permanent compulsory initial military service.