The Lithuanian government has approved plans to increase the size of the military, reports the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense. On Wednesday, the government authorized the ministry’s personnel increase plan for 2019 to 2028, which implements the National Defense System Development Program from 2018. The programs are designed to fund the synchronization of personnel, modernization and infrastructure development requirements.

Under the plan, the number of professional military service soldiers is planned to increase from 10.9 to 14.5 thousand troops over the next decade. The number of National Defense Volunteer Force and other active reserve soldiers are expected to rise from 5.4 to 6.3 thousand.

Also, increasingly more soldiers of the trained reserve are planned to be called in to refresh skills in various exercises and training events every year – the number is expected to grow annually to reach 3.9 thousand in 2028 from 1.4 thousand in 2019.

The number of Mandatory Initial Military Service draftees in a year is planned to increase from 3.8 to 3.9 thousand. The numbers of cadets and students of the Junior Officer Command Training Course at the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy remain the same – 320 and 610 respectively.

The quantity of personnel needed in the National Defense System has been established with regard to NATO recommendations and resource-based calculations to make sure no more than 50% of the appropriations for defense is used for maintaining personnel.

Lithuania abolished conscription in 2008. Facing the shifts in geopolitical situation and seeking to reinforce Lithuania’s defense 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.