Monday, February 9, 2015

NATO increases Total Response Force from 13,000 to 30,000 Troops

NATO defense ministers agreed Thursday to more than double the size of the alliance's Response Force and create a new quick-reaction force of 5,000 troops to meet simultaneous challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the decisions made during a daylong meeting at alliance headquarters in Brussels will "ensure that we have the right forces in the right place at the right time."
NATO will now "be able to defend all allies against any threat, from the east or from the south," he told reporters.
NATO's total Response Force was increased from 13,000 to 30,000 troops and its new rapid reaction force should start to deploy within 48 hours, Stoltenberg said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his counterparts from NATO's other 27 member nations also ordered the creation of command-and-control centers in the capitals of the three Baltic states — Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania — as well as in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. In an emergency the centers will help speed the arrival of the new quick-reaction force as well as later NATO reinforcements.
A new headquarters to help defend NATO members in northeastern Europe will also be created in western Poland, and Romania has volunteered to host a similar multinational divisional headquarters for southeastern Europe, the ministers said.
Six of NATO's largest European members — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain — volunteered on a rotating basis to furnish the nucleus for the quick-reaction force, a brigade-sized, land-based unit accompanied by air- and sea-based elements that should be able to deploy in a week, Stoltenberg said.
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