Riga, Latvia - On the last day of his enhanced Forward Presence tour General Farina met Latvian Chief of Defense – Lt Gen Leonĩds Kalninš. Both generals discussed the composition of the battlegroup, cross domain cooperation and the way forward for coordination between the eFP troops and Latvian Defense Forces. General Kalninš emphasized Latvia's involvement in NATO Response Forces in 2018 and reiterated the government's recently announced decision to increase the Latvian contribution to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
Using the opportunity, General Farina congratulated Latvian Defense Forces on their continuing coordination efforts and expressed his confidence in a seamless transition next year when eight nations will be contributing to the eFP battlegroup in Latvia. General Farina emphasized five lines of effort that JFC Brunssum would pursue to use the Alliance's enhanced Forward Presence as a 'catalyst for progress'. Capability and Requirement Development, Cross Domain Collaboration and Contribution, Training and Exercise Synchronization, Integrated Defence Planning, and Joint Situational Awareness would all be used to support the future development of NATO command and force structure, but also the force generation process.
The JFC Brunssum Commander presented his operational vision for the land-based eFP battlegroups to integrate their deterrence and defence efforts with both air and maritime assets to create joint effects. "Knowing that Latvia is now in the lead of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG-1), it is important to emphasize that such experience will be extremely useful in the future to materialize the vision of fully enabled joint military capabilities on NATO's eastern flank."
Similarly to his visits in Lithuania and Estonia, the JFC Brunssum Commander met with the commanders of the eFP battlegroup and Latvian brigade under which the NATO deployment is nested. Both commanders briefed General Farina on the current developments in respective units and presented their further integration plan for the next several months. During his stay in Ādaži base, General Farina met with representatives from all six contributing nations, and witnessed the ongoing expansion of the base. General Farina also visited troops from the Italian contingent and expressed his gratitude for their professionalism, determination and hard work to integrate into a well-organized structure functioning under the NATO flag.
As part of NATO's strengthened deterrence and defence posture, 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.
The Canadian-led battlegroup, comprising about 1150 troops from six nations, arrived in Latvia in early June 2017, which marked the completion of the enhanced Forward Presence forces' deployment less than one year after the Warsaw Summit where Allies committed to reinforce NATO's Eastern flank. This battlegroup is comprised of six nations: Canada, Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and works hand in hand with Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade. From the beginning of 2018 Czech Republic and Slovakia will also contribute their forces to the battlegroup.
Story by Public Affairs Office JFC Brunssum