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NATO Sets Sizes for Spearhead

NATO Sets Sizes for Spearhead, Response Forces

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD News) – February 5, 2015 – The NATO Response Force’s new Spearhead Force will be a multinational, brigade-sized unit of around 5,000 troops, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels today.

Stoltenberg spoke at a news conference wrapping up a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers at NATO headquarters in which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel participated. The force will help the alliance meet the threats in the east and south, the secretary general said.

A Highly Trained Land Force

The Spearhead Force will be a highly trained land force of around 5,000 troops. “These will be supported by air, sea and special forces,” Stoltenberg said. “The lead element of this land brigade will be ready to move within as little as 48 hours, with the rest moving within a week.”

Two brigades will back up the Spearhead Force as a rapid reinforcement capability in case of a major crisis, he noted. All told, the enhanced NATO Response Force will number up to about 30,000 troops.

France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom will be framework nations for the Spearhead Force. They will command in rotation in the coming years to ensure that the Spearhead Force can be sustained for the long term, the secretary general said.

“These countries will provide the main elements of the force, and help bring together other allies, so this will be truly a multinational force,” he added. “This is a strong signal of NATO solidarity, and it shows that European allies are fully playing their part, taking the lead in protecting Europe.”

Interim Spearhead Force

Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and others already have begun training and exercising an interim Spearhead Force, Stoltenberg said.

The defense ministers also decided to immediately establish six multinational command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, the secretary general told reporters. “If a crisis arises,” he added, “they will ensure that national and NATO forces from across the alliance are able to act as one from the start. They will make rapid deployment easier, support planning for collective defense, and help coordinate training and exercises.”

Stoltenberg stressed the importance of these units, noting that they will be the link between national defense and multinational NATO forces. “They will be key for connecting national forces with NATO reinforcements,” he added.

All NATO nations will contribute staff to these units, and they will be in the countries “on a persistent basis,” Stoltenberg said.

The secretary general also welcomed the work of Germany, Denmark and Poland to develop the Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast in Szcecin, Poland.

“This will enhance our high readiness capability to command forces deployed to Poland and the Baltic states,” he said. “I also welcome Romania’s intention to make available a new deployable Multinational Division Headquarters for the southeast.”

Hagel Outlines U.S. Involvement

The United States is involved in the process, Hagel said earlier in the day, noting that, the U.S. Congress has approved the $1 billion that President Barack Obama requested for the European Reassurance Initiative, which he called a major contribution to NATO’s Readiness Action Plan.

“This initiative will enable us to continue providing a persistent presence of U.S. air, land and maritime forces along the alliance’s eastern flank as we also upgrade infrastructure and preposition equipment and supplies,” Hagel said. “We intend to contribute staff officers to each of NATO’s new command and control centers in Eastern Europe.”

These “defensive, proportionate” moves are in line with NATO’s international commitments, Stoltenberg said. “Our core responsibility is to keep our nations safe,” he added, “and this is exactly what we are doing.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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