Brunssum, the Netherlands - From 9 to 12 April General Riccardo Marchiò conducted his first visit to Lithuania and Poland since he assumed command of Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS). During this trip, he met with political and military leaders as well as Battlegroup troops.
While in Lithuania, General Marchiò met with Mr Raimondas Karoblis (Minister of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania), Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Zukas (Chief of Defense) and Major General Vitalijus Vaiksnoras (the Chief of Defense Staff). In his discussions General Marchiò emphasized Lithuania's strong support and cooperation as a symbol of NATO's strength and cohesion in the Baltic Region.
Successful integration of the so-called enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) troops by host nations is, to a significant extent, due to the excellent work of NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs). While meeting the staff of NFIU Lithuania, the JFCBS commander stressed the importance of their role and the effectiveness of their contribution. The General later witnessed, first-hand, the extensive integration of the German-led eFP Battlegroup with the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Brigade "Iron Wolf", in Rukla. This NATO Battlegroup is composed of more than 1400 soldiers from eight nations.
In Poland, the JFC Brunssum Commander met Mr Mariusz Blaszczak (Minister for National Defence) and General Leszek Surawski (Chief of General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces). The General seized this opportunity to thank Poland for their continuing coordination efforts and their outstanding host nation support to NATO units in the country.
Note: At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw the Heads of States and Governments of NATO Nations agreed to deploy multinational Battlegroups to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in the framework of an enhanced Forward Presence of the Alliance in order to strengthen its collective deterrence and defence posture in the region.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office