November 19, 2021

In Memoriam: Major General Gintautas Zenkevičius

Today, we were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Major General Gintautas Zenkevičius, a former Chief of the Defence Staff and Deputy Commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and, since November 2020, a non-resident research fellow at ICDS.

Although he was part of the ICDS family for only a short time, his experience, knowledge and intellectual insights were of great benefit to our work. We will remember him as a valued member of the defence community of the Baltic states, and a great friend of both ICDS and Estonia.

We would like to extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues on their loss.

Major General Gintautas Zenkevičius retired from active service as Chief of the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces (LAF) and Vice Chief of Defence on 24 September 2020 and became an ICDS Non-Resident Research Fellow in November 2020.

He joined the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteers’ Service in March 1991 and was commissioned as an officer in December 1991. From then until 2004, he served in various command and staff positions, starting as a company commander, then as battalion commander, territorial defence regional commander, Chief of the Volunteers Training Centre and finally as Chief of Staff of the National Defence Voluntary Forces. In 2004, he was appointed as Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Planning (Chief of J5) at the Defence Staff in the Ministry of National Defence (MoND). In 2005, he led planning and preparations for the deployment of a Lithuania-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan’s Ghor province and was its first commander. In 2007–8, he directed the Transformation Project, which involved adopting a capabilities-based approach in defence planning, streamlining the command-and-control structure, and changing the logistics support processes of the LAF. In 2008–10, he was Inspector General of the MoND and in 2010–13 served at NATO’s SHAPE as Director of Management responsible for working processes, base support infrastructure and the welfare of all personnel including family members. In 2013–14, he was Director General for Capabilities and Armaments at the MoND, where his responsibilities included capability planning, defence transformation and armament acquisition. In 2014–18, he was Lithuania’s Military Representative to the NATO and EU Military Committees, being elected Dean of the latter in July 2017. In 2018–19, he was Commander of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) of the LAF and from August 2019 until his retirement served as Chief of the Defence Staff and Deputy Commander of the LAF (Vice CHOD).

He was a graduate of the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College and King’s College London, the UK Royal College of Defence Studies and Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (now Kaunas University of Technology), and held an MSc in electronics as well as an MA in defence studies.

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