On January 23 soldiers of the NATO allies deployed in Lithuania hold a community engagement event in Šakiai. It is be one of the cycle of events, held to familiarize the community of Lithuania in local municipalities with the NATO contribution to regional security. NATO troops will meet with representative of municipal administration, visit a high school, industrial objects, show their equipment. The visit will be conducted by members of the NATO Force Integration Unit, NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group, U.S. Battalion in Lithuania, 2nd Territorial Unit of Darius and Girėnas Military District of the National Defence Volunteer Force, representatives of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union.
Allies will meet with local authorities, residents, pupils in the areas, show their equipment, gear and weaponry, and also familiarise with the environs, famous sites, community activities, visit and honour military burial places.
NATO allies have already arranged roughly 30 events organised to commemorate the 70th NATO anniversary and the 15th Lithuania’s anniversary in NATO across municipalities of Lithuania.
The NATO Day in the Region events are organised by the NATO Force Integration Unit which was inaugurated in Lithuania in September 2015 and has been in operation since. Its mission is to ensure and facilitate a fluent and efficient deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness s Joint Task Force (VJTF), and other NATO units in Lithuania. NFIU tasks in Lithuania also include support to allied exercises and other assurance measures, contribution to Lithuania’s defence plans, and identification of infrastructure objects necessary for a rapid deployment of allied forces in Lithuania.
During peacetime the NFIU staff is 40-strong and comprised by international and Lithuanian Armed Forces soldiers. The staff is currently provided by 14 NATO countries. The decision to establish NATO Force Integration Units in 8 member states — Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary — was taken by NATO Heads of States and Governments at the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014.