Vilnius, Lithuania – The 3rd NFIUs Commanders' conference, hosted by Major General Vitalijus Vaiksnoras (Chief of Joint Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces) was conducted 19-20 October. The occasion served as an opportunity for all stakeholders to shape and discuss the future evolution of NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) within the guidelines of the Warsaw Summit.
'NATO is a defensive Alliance, not looking for escalation but still ready to defend and protect allies: their territories, citizens and common values', General Salvatore Farina, commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, stated at the conclusion of the conference when addressing the media. We monitor the situation on the Eastern flank – he continued - and we are ready and prepared to respond in an effective and proportionate way to any threat to the security of NATO Allies.'
When describing the situation on the Northeastern border with regard to NATO's presence, Commander JFC Brunssum said: the 'glass' is already half-full and more liquid is going to be added soon with the enhanced Forward Presence: the deployment of the battalion-sized battlegroups will start early next year and will be completed by the first semester. These battlegroups are multinational and they are a concrete symbol of solidarity and cohesion, being 'one for all and all for one, as in the spirit of NATO'.
He also pointed out that 'no NATO Ally is alone, the Alliance is already present in this region, demonstrating that cohesion and unity are rock-solid, as well as the determination to defend and protect all Allies, without generating escalations while always aiming at dialogue and prevention.'
From Wales to Warsaw many steps forward have been taken by NATO, and according to General Farina 'NFIUs are already well on track after about one year from their activation; the decisions made in Warsaw will require further adaptation and evolution even of our newest structures, such as the NFIUs themselves, which are unique and specifically organized to carry out tasks in the best possible way: they are not identical, but similar.'
The NFIUs in Poland and the three Baltic States have been active since September 2015. These are now being followed by the impending activation of their sister units in Hungary and Slovakia. Once these two additional entities are activated six NFIUs will be in operation under the command of Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE), based in Szczecin, Poland.
"I would like to emphasize that security is a team effort" – Lieutenant General Manfred Hofmann, Commander MNC NE and chairman of the conference stressed. He added: "Together with the NFIUs, our forward enablers, we have officially become NATO's Regional Custodian of Security on the North-Eastern flank. We are ready to support the battalion-sized battlegroups in further enhancement of safety of the region in a legitimate and proportionate way."
General Farina after the conference met the Chief of Defence of Lithuania, Lieutenant General Jonas Zukas, to discuss the outcomes of the two-days visit.
Story by JFC Brunssum PAO