It's been suggested in some comments (and now an answer) to a related Q that the US is expected to demand lest cost sharing from Germany than from South Korea, for US troop presence, because Germany is not at a risk of direct attack. But maybe Lithuania is at more of a risk, according to various officials from the region (and to Stars and Stripes):

No one at the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė would mention Russia by name. But the simulation of an invasion by a “peer enemy” took place just 10 miles from Belarus, Russia’s closest ally [...] The Baltics no longer consider Belarus an autonomous country, viewing it instead as a “satellite of Russian military intentions,” said Artis Pabriks, a former Latvian defense minister. [...]

“Russia considers the Baltic states to be the most vulnerable part of NATO, which would make them a focus of military pressure in the event of a NATO-Russia conflict,” the Estonian service said. [...]

President Vladimir Putin last year likened himself to Peter the Great, praising the czar’s conquest of the Baltic coast in the 18th century as the “returning” and “strengthening” of land that was rightfully Russian. [...]

The U.S. began sending long-term rotational forces of about 500 troops to Pabradė in 2019, and Lithuania, eager to turn the deployments into a permanent stay, inaugurated a new camp for American soldiers there two years later.

So, what is known about the cost-sharing that Lithuania offers for the (relatively small) US troop presence?

  • Another difference between Lithuania and Germany on one side and South Korea on the other side is that the first area in NATO. Maybe you get a discount if you are in NATO. Another difference is that Lithuania is small and the number of (permanent?) US troops even smaller. It might not be worth the accounting for such a small number of troops. Maybe Japan might be another candidate that should be checked. Feb 21 at 15:56
  • 2
    Actually, NATO committed to base no permanent, major combat formations in the former Warsaw Pact nations. The US is deploying battalions on rotational presence, compared to permanent divisions in Korea.
    – o.m.
    Feb 21 at 16:00
  • @o.m.: that's right. US troop presence in Estonia is reportedly similar (600) news.err.ee/1609095179/… I could have asked about them, but that page says they received a recent boost in numbers, so it might even less conclusive to ask about them. Feb 21 at 16:08
  • @Dolphin613Motorboat, trick question, when you think about the German forces in the US, would you expect them to pay rent or would you expect the US to pay for their upkeep? Some are there to make use of large deserts for training, others to support US operations worldwide ...
    – o.m.
    Feb 21 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


Following alfa.lt, over five years of NATO membership Lithuania has paid NATO about 10 million euro of various taxes and spent 40 million more on the reconstruction of the military airport Zokniai. The total GDP of Lithuania is somewhat 70 billion so does not look like expensive.

The largest costs of NATO membership comes from the necessity to spend 2 % of GDP for defense, not from some "membership fees". Lithuania used to spend less, more about 1.7%, but they acknowledge this is not good and aiming to reach this spending. A NATO neutral country may need to spend the comparable amount for the adequate defense, if not more.

  • But did Lithuania spend the 2%? And the 10 to 50 million euros may be quite a lot for a small country like Lithuania. Could the amount be normalized (by number of NATO soldiers present or by GDP or by both) and compared with for example Germany or South Korea or other countries? Feb 22 at 10:18
  • From the source it looks like no, they did not, but they are doing they best to reach this spending.
    – Stančikas
    Feb 22 at 11:46

If we are talking about non-monetary options, perhaps Lithuania is paying by its cutting of ties with mainland China and being the first EU state to recognize Taiwan, as suggested by this answer.

It has started in 2021 (the same year when permanent US base opened) and "Only 13% of Lithuanians view the policies positively." Perhaps that's the payment.

  • But if Russia would invade, would it be any use of China, could we imagine them providing military or even any other help? With whom it is more clever to side?
    – Stančikas
    Feb 22 at 16:14
  • @Stančikas As long as Russia does not invade, bad relations with China are detrimental, though.
    – alamar
    Feb 22 at 17:38
  • But siding with USA and NATO may be why Russia does not invade so that's OK
    – Stančikas
    Feb 22 at 20:10
  • Perhaps they are getting what they want but they also sure paying for it.
    – alamar
    Feb 22 at 20:14

The official expectation is to spend at least 2% of GDP on military. This indirectly feeds money into the US military production industry, so it indirectly pays out. If there are other agreements, those are usually kept a secret.

The low military spending, the poor state of the German army, the naive attitude towards Russia, all contributed to friction between Germany, US and other NATO allies up until the first months of the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when Germany finally agreed to up its spending. I'm not sure where the idea that Germany has a special agreement with US came from, that's pretty bogus given public data available.

  • 1
    This answer seems a bit too general for a question asking about Lithuania. At the very least: how much is Lithuania spending on defense of their GDP and how much of that goes into investing in US equipment? Feb 22 at 9:08
  • @NoDataDumpNoContribution normally I'd VTC this question cause all the information is publicly available. You are essentially asking others to do basic Google searches for you.
    – Ccm
    Feb 22 at 11:45
  • "cause all the information is publicly available" isn't a close reason. It may be a downvote reason. And yes, I agree that many questions can be answered by search. I would even argue that all questions should be answered or heavily backed up by searches because we do not invent politics, it's already there. At most we connect a few dots. A good question and/or answer should contain relevant information, so others don't have to find the answer themselves. If you don't want to do present available information, why do you answer? Feb 22 at 11:53

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