Response Force ready for missions

Posted in NATO | 22-Oct-04 | Source: NATO

NATO’s cutting-edge Response Force (NRF) has reached initial operational capability and is now ready to take on the full range of missions where and when the Alliance decides to use it.

The announcement was made by NATO Secretary General, Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, and the Alliance’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General James L. Jones, at the informal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Romania, 13 October 2004.

This high readiness and technologically advanced force is a first for NATO. It combines elite land, air and sea units into a single force that can be deployed anywhere in the world in five days and sustain itself for up to a month on a wide range of missions.

These might include collective defence, managing the consequences of natural or man-made disasters, serving as an ‘initial entry’ force for a larger follow-on force, or to demonstrate the Alliance’s determination and ability to act effectively in the early stages of a crisis.

At present, the Force numbers about 17,000 troops.

At the heart of NATO’s transformation

Because the land, air and maritime forces of NATO member countries will rotate through the Response Force, it will serve as a catalyst for the Alliance’s overall military transformation.

It is a test bed for advanced doctrines and technologies, and – as the Allies rotate their forces – lessons will be learned that can be applied, I think, across the full structure of the Alliance,” the NATO Secretary General told reporters.

The concept of the NATO Response Force was agreed at NATO’s Prague Summit in 2002. The force is expected to reach its full operational capability of approximately 21,000 troops by 2006.