Brunssum, The Netherlands – This week in the Lithuanian training area of Gaižiūnai, German troops from the new German enhanced Vigilance Activity (eVA) Brigade took part in Exercise Fast Griffin. 413 Light Infantry Battalion, supported by a Lithuanian reconnaissance platoon rehearsed a rapid deployment by sea from their home in Germany.
At the NATO Summit in Madrid in June 2022, NATO Allies agreed to strengthen their defences in response to the Russian Federation’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine. The Allies agreed to work towards a New Force Model, which will increase the high-readiness troops available to NATO from 40,000 to more than 300,000 by the end of 2023.
Germany became one of the first NATO Allies to put into place concrete plans on the road to the New Force Model when it assigned the 5,000 plus soldiers of its 41st Mechanised Infantry Brigade as an enhanced Vigilance Activities (or eVA) Brigade – a capable and modern force designed to Deter and Defend against Russian aggression on NATO’s Eastern flank.
The new German eVA Brigade will remain based in Neubrandenburg in north-eastern Germany, ready to deploy to Lithuania on short notice. As part of the plan, a sophisticated Forward Command Element (FCE) of some 40 soldiers has been permanently forward-based in Lithuania. It will coordinate with the host nation and enable the Brigade to commence operations at very short notice in time of crisis. Equipment and ammunition will also be pre-positioned.
On Saturday, 8th October, the German Defence Minister, Christine Lambrecht, together with her Lithuanian counterpart, Arvydas Anušauskas, visited the FCE at the Lithuanian military base in Rukla and formally declared it open. Rukla was chosen for the ceremony as it is the location of the existing German-led multinational NATO Battlegroup in Lithuania, but the FCE is a mobile unit and can be moved rapidly and at short notice to wherever it is required to complete its mission of commanding German and NATO forces in Lithuania.
A few days after the visit of the Defence Ministers, on Monday 10th October the Live Fire portion of the exercise was attended by the President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda and the Lithuanian Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys.
Under the motto ‘Deploy to Deter, Prepare to Defend’, the German eVA Brigade are committed alongside other NATO Allies to the defence of every inch of Alliance territory. Building on over seventy years as the guarantor of peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic Area, the rapid development of the German eVA Brigade offers a glimpse of how NATO’s New Force Model will Deter and Defend long into the future.