Lithuanian-based NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence to be officially established

A Vilnius-based NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence will be established by signing official documents at the headquarters of the NATO Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, on Tuesday.

The establishment documents will be signed by military representatives of Lithuania, Latvia and Italy. On behalf of NATO, the documents will be signed by General Mieczyslaw Bieniek, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said on Tuesday.

Other contracting parties – Estonia and France – are finishing internal authorization procedures and will sign the document shortly. The United States plans to join after the center's accreditation is finalized.

The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence is being established on the basis of the Energy Security Center currently operating under the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs by expanding activities of the former and giving it the status of a NATO international military organization. The North Atlantic Council is expected to grant the status by the end of this year, and this way formal accreditation procedures will be finalized.

The NATO center of excellence will be stationed in the territory of the General Jonas ┼Żemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. International staff will be made up of representatives of all countries engaged in the activities of the center of excellence.

The center will be headed by a representative delegated by the Ministry of National Defense. The ministry will also send five specialists and provide administrative staff. The center should be accredited under NATO procedure to be able to fully operate.

According to the draft concept, the Vilnius center would provide expertise on the development of NATO capacities in the field of energy security, analyzing aspects of energy supplies and infrastructure protection, provide advice on improvement of energy efficiency. The center would also carry out exercise and training. The center should also make proposals on the creation of energy security concepts, doctrines and standards, initiate exercises and training, develop active cooperation among members of the Alliance amid changing processes of energy security, as well as promote development and application of new technologies in warfare.

Lithuania's initiative to establish a NATO-accredited Energy Security Center of Excellence was backed at the NATO Summit in Chicago, 20-21 May.
Wider use of Lithuania's experience

Granting the status of a NATO center to the Vilnius-based Energy Security Center will allow wider use of Lithuania's experience, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has said on Tuesday.

"NATO sees energy issues in its doctrines as one of the most important security things and, therefore, it's important for us, who pay a lot of attention to energy security issues of our country and the whole Baltic region, that such a NATO center of excellence should operate in Vilnius and it's a certain impulse for us to work harder in this area," Kubilius told the Lithuanian Radio on Tuesday.

"The experience we have gained by transforming our energy matters and liberating ourselves from dependence on old Soviet systems - we could use this experience for matters of a significantly larger community," the Lithuanian prime minister said.