Brunssum, Netherlands - On Monday 28 November 2016, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), chaired by NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, visited the Allied Joint Force Command in Brunssum (Netherlands), as part of a combined visit to include the nearby NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force Headquarters, located in Geilenkirchen (Germany).
General Salvatore Farina, Commander JFC Brunssum, provided the members of NATO's principal political decision-making body with an overview of the Headquarters' core missions and priorities and answered questions on relevant topics. In particular, the discussion focused on the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, Defence and Deterrence and enhanced Forward Presence.
JFC Brunssum is a key asset in leading the Alliance's missions and operations and represents a hub of expertise at the operational level within the Allied Command Operations (ACO), which has strategic responsibility over all of the NATO-led missions, operations, and activities.
Currently providing 'out-of-theatre' command and control to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, General Farina underlined how "we need to achieve our objectives
step by step in order to improve the Afghans' capabilities", having in mind that this "won't be a quick process because the situation is complex and continuously evolving, but we should remain consistent and lead the insurgents to stop thinking they could ever win, and therefore consider a rapprochement with the Afghan authorities ."
With regards to Defence and Deterrence, General Farina stated that his staff and himself are committed to providing the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) with "the most possible options and tools to choose in order to deter any aggressive stance effectively" and allow NATO to be flexible.
JFC Brunssum is one of the two stand-by Joint Force commands, ready to be nominated by SACEUR to command and control NATO operations. It contributes to the rotation of the enhanced NATO Response Force (NRF) – which includes the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) - as a deployable Joint Task Force Headquarters.
General Farina continued, saying that at Brunssum "we are looking at threats from a 360 degrees perspective, and we should maintain this posture with respect to the North and the East, as well as to the Southern flank, which is currently dealing with a wide range of risks and threats."'
He added that he believes JFC Brunssum to be "the best place to address the jointness of deterrence, which is the result of a combination of all components and commands – land, maritime and air."
The topic of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) was highlighted as further confirmation of NATO's solidarity and determination to defend its territory against any possible aggression, with the deployment of four robust multinational battalions to the eastern part of Alliance territory in early 2017 as a response to the changed security environment. For General Farina the concept of eFP is based on the defensive nature of the battlegroups:"'we don't want to escalate, therefore we need to control and coordinate daily throughout the whole chain of command, until the last man on the field" and in this process "political control is paramount."
JFC Brunssum also plays a key role in connecting the Alliance's command structure with national headquarters in Allied countries. Its leadership has been crucial for the integration of the Alliance's Multinational Corps Northeast in Poland and of the NATO Force Integration Units in Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
On completion of the visit the Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, thanked commander JFC Brunssum for the rich discussions.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office