Lithuanian Land Forces Commander visits JMTG-U

By Capt. Russell Gordon (10th PCH)April 25, 2016

JMTG-U Commander meets Lithuanian Land Forces Commander
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Maj. Gen. Leika speaks to Lithuanian soldiers about training
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Maj. Gen. Leika speaks with a Ukrainian officer about weaponry and tactics
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YAVORIV, Ukraine -- Maj. Gen. Almantas Leika, commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces, visited the International Peacekeeping and Security Center Apr. 20 to discuss the progress of the multinational training and combat training center development of the Ukrainian army.

Leika began the day by meeting with the senior leaders representing the U.S., Canada and Ukraine. During the meeting, Leika was briefed on the changes to the approach of training the Ukrainian army, which are designed to be more foundational and long term. These changes are part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine efforts to assist Ukraine with developing a combat training center.

The role and importance of the Lithuanian contribution to the multinational effort was also discussed by everyone.

"It is extremely important for us to be here at this training area to contribute to the overall allied training effort to train the Ukrainian military. We see it as a situation that pays off for everyone at the end of the day," said Leika.

The importance of developing a well-trained Ukrainian instructor cadre ready to train future rotations of JMTG-U, conducting more force-on-force type of culminating exercises using simulations equipment such as the multiple integrated laser engagement system or MILES and developing doctrine in alignment with NATO was emphasized during the meeting.

The current rotation of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine was discussed in detail with Leika. Each key stakeholder in the training explained the successes and challenges with the training. One of the more notable successes mentioned was noncommissioned officer developmental efforts in which NCOs were initially trained separately from their officers and instructed on the necessity of being able to execute training while having the trust of their leaders.

Following the meeting, Leika toured the training area to meet with the Lithuanian trainers and also to witness first-hand the training being conducted in support of building Ukraine's capacity for self-defense.

"First of all, I'm extremely happy that Lithuanian instructors were sent here to train the Ukrainian military. They are a part of the overall effort together with instructors from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom," said Leika. "Also, I see that the Ukrainian soldiers are extremely receptive, positive and enthusiastic to learn to become better and as a result be able to accomplish their professional duties," added Leika.