General Salvatore Farina delivers his speech at the opening ceremony of the new Hungarian NATO Force Integration Unit in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. Also present, from left to right: NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Mr. Herold; the Minister of Defence of Hungary, Dr. Istvan Simicskò; and the Chief of Defence of Hungary, General Tibor Benkò.
- Commander JFC Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina, participated in the inauguration ceremony of the Hungarian NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) on Friday 18 November; this is the latest NFIU to officially join the network of headquarters established along the Eastern flank of the area of responsibility of Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
The ceremony was also attended by the Hungarian Minister of Defence, Dr. Istvan Simicskò; NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Mr. Enrest J. Herold; the Chief of Defence of Hungary, General Tibor Benkò; amongst other dignitaries.
Commander JFC Brunssum is responsible for the implementation area that includes the NFIU in Hungary together with those established last year in Poland and the three Baltic States, as well as the one recently activated in Slovakia. General Farina, the highest ranking NATO military commander at the ceremony, commended the hard work of Hungarian officials and NFIU staff to establish this headquarters and get it operational on an accelerated timeline, providing a ‘great achievement for NATO in such a short period’. He recognized the key role played by this headquarters with its ‘mission to assist the host nation in enabling the quick reception and support of the Enhanced NATO Response Force (eNRF), including the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), in order to bolster the Alliance’s overall responsiveness.’
These headquarters are not only important facilitators bringing high readiness elements to the theatre, but they also have ‘a significant role in acquiring and increasing situational awareness in the region by providing NATO with essential knowledge, acting as the Alliance’s eyes and ears on the ground, sharing information with the host nation and higher headquarters.’ With this in mind, the General said: ‘it is critical that NFIUs establish and maintain strong, standing relationships with the host country and act on behalf of NATO forces, already now, in peacetime’. He added: ‘with its central, strategic location in Europe, on the crossroads of East and West, Hungary can provide essential support to the Alliance, in peace time, crisis and conflict’.
‘NFIUs are smart, agile and joint military headquarters representing a multinational effort’ and with this latest NFIU in Hungary we add more capability, expertise and enthusiasm into NATO’s NFIU network’, General Farina pointed out.
He concluded his remarks by welcoming the Commander of the Hungarian NFIU, Colonel Garas, and his multinational team into the ‘operational family in support of the Alliance’s security’, wishing them good luck for the ‘journey starting today in order to achieve great results, as per Hungary’s tradition.’
The Minister of Defence of Hungary, in his remarks, highlighted the multi-nationality of the headquarters staff and thanked the nations providing the international personnel as a sign of solidarity with Hungary. ‘The establishment of the NFIU in Székesfehérvár’ - the Minister said – ‘is another important milestone in Hungary’s history of NATO membership’.
On behalf of the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Herold expressed his thanks to the Hungarian Government and people for their ‘contribution to the Alliance’s security’, underlining the ‘constructive role that Hungary plays in our Alliance’. The Hungarian NFIU is a ‘step forward for the security of Hungary and NATO’, and all 8 NFIUs together ’move NATO to greater strength and greater readiness’, sending the clear message that ‘no NATO ally stands alone: NATO is here in Szekesfehervar and ready to defend all Allies against any threat’.
After the 2014 Wales Summit, elements of the Readiness Action Plan were enacted, with the enhancement of the NATO Response Force and the conception of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), together with the planned establishment of 8 NATO Force Integration Units within the territories of NATO’s eastern allies, as a clear and tangible sign of NATO’s continuing commitment to defend all member states.
At the joint press conference following the ceremony, General Farina took the opportunity to underline the Alliance’s approach to security is to look at threats coming from any direction - East and West, North and South. He stated: ‘NATO is demonstrating - and will continue in the years to come - to be a defensive Alliance with extensive capabilities that enable flexibility and adaptation, but also allow for the provision of assurance and deterrence, underlining the Alliance’s resolve to defend and protect all allies whilst always avoiding provocation and escalation while being open for dialogue’.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office