NATO Sets Sizes for Spearhead
NATO Sets Sizes for
Spearhead, Response Forces
By Jim Garamone, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
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
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
“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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