Brunssum, Netherlands – Today June the 10th the NATO Response Force Commanders conducted their regular virtual meeting discussing the state of play of NATO’s Response Force 2020.
Chaired by General Jörg Vollmer, Commander JFC Brunssum, and attended by high ranking representatives of the current NRF Component Commands the conference was scheduled to discuss lessons learned throughout the current stand-by period, develop proposals for the way ahead and maintain close links between the Commands.
The NATO Response Force (NRF) was established in 2002 from the Berlin Plus Agreement as a high readiness force comprising of air, land, maritime and Special Forces units capable of rapid deployment. The NRF is capable of performing a wide variety of tasks including the provision of an immediate collective defence response capability (prior to arrival of other forces), crisis management & peace support operations, plus disaster relief and the protection of critical infrastructure. At the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO Allies agreed to enhance the capabilities of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in order to adapt and respond to emerging security challenges, as well as the risks emanating, at the time, from the Middle East and North Africa.
Having carefully considered the options presented during post-Wales discussions, the decision to incorporate a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) within the overall NRF structure was taken, increasing the size of the NRF to 40,000 and providing NATO with a highly capable and flexible air, land, maritime and Special Forces package capable of deploying at short notice when tasked, between two to seven days.
The conference proved to be the perfect opportunity to exchange experiences routine exercising and training events and to confront some current challenges facing the Alliance - in particular, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NATO’s readiness.
General Vollmer stressed the common understanding of NRF family and highlighted that availability and deployability of well-trained troops is the key for NRF success. “Readiness counts as it’s the basis of NATO’s Deterrence and Defence Strategy!” he said.
For 2020, standby command responsibility for the NRF rests with JFC Brunssum and is supported by the following command and control elements:
· Land: Eurocorps (EURCORPS comprises staff from five countries: France, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium)
· Air: British Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) HQ;
· Maritime: Spanish Maritime Force (SPMARFOR);
· Special Operations: Polish Special Operations Component Command (POL SOCC);
· Joint Logistic Support Group (JLSG) from JFC Brunssum;
Also contributing to the NRF 2020 package are the Polish CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence) Task Force and the Multi National CIMIC Group that is based in Italy.
At the end of the occasion General Vollmer thanked all soldiers, sailors and airmen for their commitment during that one-year stand-by period and encouraged them to maintain their spirit for readiness despite the COVID-19 challenges.