Defence Ministers agree to strengthen NATO’s defences, establish Spearhead Force
NATO Defence Ministers took important decisions on Thursday (5 February 2015) to strengthen the Alliance’s collective defence. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the decisions would “ensure that we have the right forces, in the right place, at the right time.”
Ministers approved plans in the light of the changing security environment to the east and south of the Alliance’s borders. The NATO Response Force will be enhanced. The Defence Ministers agreed on the size and scope of a new very high readiness force or Spearhead Force. “We decided that this very high readiness force will consist of a land brigade of around 5,000 troops. These will be supported by air, sea and special forces,” said Mr Stoltenberg. He said the Spearhead Force would be backed up by two more brigades “as a rapid reinforcement capability in case of a major crisis. Altogether, the enhanced NATO Response Force will count up to around 30,000 troops.”
Defence Ministers also decided to immediately establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. “If a crisis arises, they will ensure that national and NATO forces from across the Alliance are able to act as one from the start. They will make rapid deployment easier. Support planning for collective defence. And help coordinate training and exercises,” said the Secretary General.
Ministers also held a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission and reaffirmed their support for the country’s attempts to further modernize its security forces. “NATO is committed to help Georgia make its defence more modern, and thereby enable Georgia to move closer to NATO membership,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. The Alliance is deploying a team of experts to advise the Georgian authorities on defence reforms, and a Joint NATO-Georgia Training Centre is being set up in Tbilisi.
The day began with a regular meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group which, around once a year, considers key issues related to the Alliance’s nuclear deterrence policy.