NATO Response Force Commanders’ Conference
Brunssum/The Netherlands,13 December 2016 – The NATO Response Force Commanders’ Conference marks the conclusion of an intense 2016 for Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFC Brunssum). The conference, attended by NATO Response Force (NRF) Commanders for 2016 and 2017 was held on Tuesday, 13 December, at JFC Brunssum.
Chaired by General Salvatore Farina, Commander JFC Brunssum, the conference was deliberately scheduled at the conclusion of the 2016 NRF cycle to discuss lessons learned throughout the past year and establish close links between next year’s NRF Commanders.
The conference proved the perfect opportunity to confront some persistent challenges facing the Alliance - in particular, the joint initiative for deterrence and collective defence and their correlation with the NRF. During discussion attention inevitably focused on the ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’ and ‘Tailored Forward Presence’, initiatives designed to enhance allied security on both the north-east and south-east flanks of member nations’ territory.
During his intervention General Farina remarked how the NRF is employed throughout a 360 degree spectrum, prepared for both Article V (Collective Defence) missions and Crisis Response Operations (CROs). With regard to the latter activity the General added that this task has gained a significant interest for NATO in the south where the Alliance is about to establish a ‘Hub for the South’ centred on Joint Force Command Naples.
Representatives from Allied Command Operations, Air Command, Maritime Command, Land Command and Multinational Corps Northeast attended the conference. Outcomes from the discussions will be integrated into a report General Farina will send to Supreme Allied Commander Europe (General Curtis M. Scaparrotti) covering the entirety of NRF issues gathered throughout 2016 where JFC Brunssum was the standby command.
For 2017, standby command responsibility for the NRF, will be held by JFC Naples. Brunssum will retain its responsibility for the command and control of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, as well as the implementation of assurance and deterrence measures in northern Europe. In this area JFC Brunssum will be busy over the coming year with the deployment of four multinational battle groups in the north-east of Alliance member territory, in the framework of ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’.
Data Sheet 1
The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a high readiness force composed of air, maritime and land forces, supported by Special Forces allocated, on a rotational basis, by Alliance member countries and other partners. From this year – following the decision taken at the Welsh Summit (2014) with the adoption of the ‘Readiness Action Plan (RAP) – the NRF can rely on a military contingent of 40,000 soldiers, elements of which can be extremely quickly deployed.
The NRF is a flexible force that can be used interalia for Collective Defence, Peace Support Operations, Crisis Response Operations, the provision of humanitarian support and protection of critical infrastructure.
Data Sheet 2
JFC Brunssum was certified to lead the NRF throughout 2016, if it were activated, in the Trident Juncture 2015 exercise. This was NATO’s largest exercise since 2002 and was conducted in Italy, Portugal and Spain with a force of 36,000 troops from air, maritime and land domains, supported by Special Forces.
During 2016 JFC Brunssum conducted numerous training exercises with the objective to maintain the readiness of the NRF and regularly test its component parts. In particular, Exercise Brilliant Jump, conducted in Poland last May, verified the deployability of the land component and ensured the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (the spearhead element of the NRF) was at the highest level of readiness possible.
During 2016 the NRF comprised land forces from Spain, maritime forces from the United Kingdom, air forces from Italy, Special Forces from the USA, a logistics component from the Netherlands and an NBC Unit from Poland.
Also throughout 2016 eight NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) have been activated in Poland, the Baltics, Hungary, Slovakia (under JFC Brunssum responsibility) and in Romania and Bulgaria (under JFC Naples responsibility). The main objective of these Units is to facilitate and speed up the insertion in-theatre of high readiness NRF components, especially the VJTF.