Lithuania’s new government intends to increase the number of military draftees and pursue universal conscription for men and women.
“A consistent transition to universal conscription […] is an aspiration, but the practical implementation of this goal will only be possible if there is a broad political consensus [and] an adequate level of preparation and funding for the Armed Forces, with an adequate transition period to be set,” the government’s draft programme reads.
“Under these circumstances, the number of conscripts will be gradually increased and an alternative military service mechanism will be created,” it adds.
The new government aims for a professional army of at least 14,000 troops by 2024. It gives no specific numbers as to how many conscripts should be drafted.
Some 3,352 conscripts, including 137 young women, have started their military service this year. The current plan is to call up 3,828 young people for initial mandatory military service next year.
Lithuania reintroduced partial military conscription in 2015 in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.Arvydas Anušauskas will be the country’s new defence minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.