Rukla and Vilnius, Lithuania - On the first day of his tour General Salvatore Farina met Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade Commander, Colonel Mindaugas Steponavičius, and enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Thorsten Gensler. Both commanders shared their impressions of the current status of the deployment and the way ahead for 2018. Commander JFCBS was also briefed on the latest developments and the (expected) new contributions to the German-led battlegroup from Luxembourg, France and Croatia.
General Farina said: "Starting in January 2018 my Headquarters will be on permanent standby for the NATO Response Force and eFP will remain one of my main efforts as part of a broader 'capability' picture. The integration of NATO's high-readiness forces with national assets is of utmost importance from my operational perspective". During his stay in Rukla, the general met soldiers from the battlegroup and thanked them for their service to NATO.
On Tuesday, Commander JFCBS met with the Chief of Joint Staff, Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, and NATO Force Integration Unit Commander, Colonel Jakob Sogard Larsen, in order to discuss the broader aspects of mutual cooperation in support of eFP. Later that day, during his meeting with Lithuanian Chief of Defence, General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, General Farina commended the extraordinary effort of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in their modernization, capability improvement and their outstanding host nation support to eFP Battlegroup Lithuania in its efforts to guarantee both defence and security in the region.
Throughout his visit Commander JFCBS presented his wider operational vision of eFP, which he described as a 'catalyst for progress' in multiple NATO areas. Battlegroups, being the land element of NATO's deterrence and defence posture in the east, should expand their integration with both air and maritime assets to create joint effects. The commander also emphasized five lines of effort that JFC Brunssum would pursue to achieve this, including Capability and Requirement Development, Cross Domain Collaboration and Contribution, Training and Exercise Synchronization, Integrated Defence Planning, and Joint Situational Awareness.
As part of NATO's strengthened deterrence and defence posture, the Allies agreed at the 2016 Summit in Warsaw to enhance NATO's military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. Fully deployed in June 2017, NATO's enhanced Forward Presence comprises multinational forces provided by framework nations and other contributing Allies on a voluntary, fully sustainable and rotational basis.
Story by Public Affairs Office JFC Brunssum