During the last decade the deteriorating political and military situation in the world have proved the necessity of well-prepared armed forces.
It is obvious that the level of patriotism in Lithuania is high as ever. Many young men are thinking to join the armed forces and be useful to the country. The government only should maintain and strengthen this trend. But battling with numerous political and economical problems the government is going to make some changes in military sphere that could have far-reaching adverse consequences.
It should be said that today there is a serious gap in providing the national armed forces with officers. Professional outflow is higher than inflow.
Lithuania's army has lost 258 trained commanders for the last three years and only 231 lieutenants have come on their places. There is one reason for it -- the total absence of advantages for those who are ready to become officers. But Lithuanian authorities want to solve the problem in another way.
Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas declared that new amendments to the law providing the lengthening the service for Lithuanian officers, generals, admirals and chaplains have been prepared. Officers will serve up to 56, generals and admirals up to 60 and up to 65 years old. The proclaimed aim of such actions is to prevent the command from weakening. Lithuanian officers usually retire at 45 and successfully start new civilian careers. Until now they have such a right, but the authorities have decided to deprive of it.
In other countries, such as the US and Great Britain, in exchange for the increased responsibility and risks, officers receive superior benefits and excellent credentials valued by military. Such way is much more effective than those the Lithuanian authorities have chosen. But it is of course more costly and difficult.
Hopefully Lithuania's new government will go another way than the previous one and Lithuania will not lose the future of its armed forces. It is no good to "patch holes" by lengthening service, the armed forces need officers sure in their social security and benefits for their families in exchange of preparedness to risk their lives. The choice to enlist in the Lithuanian Armed Forces is a life-changing decision that many men and women make taking in consideration all "pros and cons." And the decision of young men highly depends on the government's today attempts to improve the situation and keep the military professionals in the army.