NOS News•today, 18:13
In order to further increase NATO’s deterrent effect towards Russia, the alliance is significantly expanding the so-called NATO Response Force (NRF). There are currently 40,000 military personnel from NATO countries ready to be deployed within a short period of time. That should be 300,000. It would mean that almost 10 percent of the total active military of all NATO countries could be deployed quickly.
The NRF is made up of units with varying levels of readiness. Each part must be ready for a mission anywhere in the world within five to thirty days. The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), also known as the flash force, can be deployed most quickly. It was last February deployed for the first time to strengthen defenses on NATO’s eastern flank.
Russia as a direct threat
A NATO summit will be held in Madrid tomorrow and the day after. The plan to expand the Rapid Reaction Force is expected to be approved by then. Then the description of Russia at NATO is also discussed. Since 2010, Russia has been a strategic partner of NATO. “I expect member states to clearly state that Russia is a direct threat to our security, values and rules-based international order,” Stoltenberg said.
He describes the expansion of the Rapid Reaction Force and the change in dealings with Russia as “the biggest overhaul of our joint deterrence and defense since the Cold War”. In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, the Rapid Reaction Force was expanded from 14,000 to 40,000 troops.
The reinforcement of the Rapid Reaction Force will mainly be seen on NATO’s eastern flank, particularly in the Baltic States. The units present there will probably operate at brigade level. A brigade usually consists of several thousand soldiers.
It is still unknown what the Dutch contribution to the NRF will consist of in the new plan. At this time The Netherlands will supply, among other things, an amphibious transport ship, two helicopters, a frigate, a diving team, a number of specialized intelligence units and about 1500 army soldiers for the two fastest deployable units of the NRF.