Lithuania Report


Main Actors

There are four main institutions that would usually be involved in coordinating a reaction to an external crisis in some WGA-like fashion: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Ministry of National Defence (MND), the Prime Minister’s Office and the President’s Office. Depending on the issue at hand, other institutions might be involved, such as: the State Security Department; the so-called Second Investigation Department under MND, a military intelligence unit; the Ministry of the Interior; or the Ministry of Economy and Innovation.
In times of external crisis, coordination and cooperation would take place in more or less the following way, which is based on a mixture of formal and informal practice. In general, the government has a pretty clear system of disseminating information during a crisis situation. This is done via a messaging system and/or telephone, and there is a system for who gets informed, about which matters, how the level of urgency is determined, and who should be contacted next. In a second step, a decision is made about whether to react and, if so, about whether those in the circle of already-informed bodies should respond to the problem or the response efforts should be taken to a higher, if not the highest, level. After the initial decision on the nature of the situation, the type of subsequent communication depends on the type of crisis (internal, external, both) and the sector impacted by the crisis (security, defence, foreign, interior, energy, cyber, etc). In serious situations, the initial decision about whether to react would usually be made in the President’s Office, which would then contact the MFA. However, the opposite can also happen, with the MFA taking this decision and then contacting the President’s Office. If the crisis has security- or defence-related aspects, the MND would also be involved. Given the external nature of the crisis, Lithuania’s permanent representative to the EU and/or NATO (depending on the type of question) would also be brought into the communication loop and then assist in coordinating subsequent consultations. Since Lithuania is a small country, the communication chain is usually short and quick. But the success of this procedure depends a lot on how good the working relations and/or personal contacts between the President’s Office and the ministries are.
For a long time, even though the Prime Minister’s Office coordinates the Crisis Management Committee and the newly created National Security Commission, the office and the prime minister him- or herself have been rather marginal actors in this system. Moreover, the National Security Commission is just beginning to function, so its role among the actors has yet to be defined, and the Crisis Management Committee has never become functional and has only been activated a few times, all of which have involved domestic crises.
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