NATO Military Exercises


More than 10,000 active reserve troops will be called up for service as the Lithuanian Armed Forces gear up for the Thunder Storm 2024 exercise. The exercise will be the largest since the restoration of independence. The Thunder Storm 2024 exercise aims to train the ability of the Lithuanian Armed Forces to prepare for defence in the context of multi-domain operations, testing the operational plans of the state’s armed defence in cooperation with allies.

More than 10,000 members of the active reserve will be called up for service, and more than 2,500 of them are expected to arrive in military units to update their skills. The exercise will bring together members of different services and tactical command posts, such as divisional and brigade command elements. It will also take place in the context of NATO exercises with allied forces from Poland, Germany, and the United States.

Canadian military during NATO exercises. 2023. Photo credits: Combat Camera

The allied forces will arrive in Lithuania in several phases, all of which will be carried out in the context of Steadfast Defender 2024, NATO’s largest exercise since the end of the Cold War. Besides Lithuania’s command posts, the country will host between several hundred and nearly 5,000 allied troops at various times, in addition to those already in the country. The readiness of the commandants’ offices will be tested during the spring exercise Thunder Storm, the Lithuanian Armed Forces have said. 

The exercise will see elements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces command, together with allies, practice planning and implementing tasks set out in the defence plans. During the exercise Thunder Storm 2024 in May, war commandants assigned to the Vilnius and Kaunas regions, together with their command units, will be integrated into municipal structures. In cooperation with municipal administrations and other institutions, war commandants and their assigned structural units will train to carry out the procedures foreseen in the event of mobilization and armed defence.

According to the Armed Forces, a large-scale mobilization exercise is also planned, and active reserve soldiers will be invited to undergo re-training within Lithuanian military units.

The exercise Thunder Storm 2024 will take place in April and May and is designed to plan and improve the organization of the state’s armed defence, with the armed forces operating independently, in interaction with wartime authorities and allied forces.

The exercise will be held in parallel with this year’s Steadfast Defender 2024, NATO’s largest military exercise.