In Rukla, Lithuania, the German Armed Forces has permanently deployed the Forward Command Element (FCE) of its new high-readiness brigade dedicated to the defence of Lithuania. Responding to decisions taken at the NATO Summit in Madrid, the Bundeswehr has designated the 5,000-plus soldiers of its 41st
Panzergrenadierbrigade (Mechanised Infantry Brigade) as an ‘enhanced Vigilance Activity’ (eVA) Brigade for the Baltic nation. The brigade will remain in its home of Neubrandenburg, Germany, but will train to deploy to defend Lithuania at very short notice.
As part of Exercise Griffin Lightning, Germany also deployed the Brigade’s 413th Light Infantry Battalion – consisting of over 200 elite combat soldiers – by sea to Lithuania, proving their ability to respond quickly to a crisis. As one of the first nations to act in response to the pledges made at this year’s NATO Summit, Germany’s eVA Brigade offers a vision of the future on the road to NATO’s New Force Model.
In Latvia, eFP Battlegroup Latvia took part in Exercise Silver Arrow – a multinational exercise involving over 4,200 troops from 17 NATO nations. The exercise certified Battlegroup Latvia as combat ready, and provided a valuable opportunity for Allies to train together to Deter and Defend on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Soldiers from eFP Battlegroups in Estonia and Lithuania also took part in the exercise.
NATO has maintained multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland since 2017 in response to the Russian invasion of Crimea. After Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine in February, the battlegroups doubled in number with the creation of four new ‘eVA’ Battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. These eight battlegroups, composed of more than 11,000 personnel from across the Alliance, are a powerful statement of will and Alliance cohesion.
In the North Atlantic, 45 ships, 30 aircraft, plus submarines and more than 11,000 sailors, marines and aircrew from eleven NATO Allies took part in the UK-led Exercise Joint Warrior. Taking place twice a year in the waters off Northern Scotland, Exercise Joint Warrior provides a unique training environment for NATO forces to hone their skills in all maritime joint warfare disciplines.
Among the naval forces taking part in the exercise were Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), two of the Alliance’s four permanently established maritime task forces. Under the command of Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in Northwood, UK, these groups are multinational, integrated forces, continuously available for tasks ranging from participating in exercises to conducting NATO missions.
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