New NFIU proves NATO continues to be relevant and adaptive
Lieutenant General Steven Shepro, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee attended the Opening Ceremony for the Slovakian NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) on 24 Jan 17 in Bratislava, Slovakia. General Shepro provided an opening statement alongside the Slovak Minister of Defence, Peter Gajdoš, Ambassador Tacan Ildem, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy and Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, General Steven Shepro, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, highlighted the significant part the NFIUs play in NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, “these units attest to how our Alliance remains ready, relevant and adaptive to respond to crisis in today’s complex and uncertain world”.
During his address, General Shepro also took the opportunity to thank the Slovak military authorities for “the proud Slovak tradition of support to the Alliance, from extensive conventional and Special Ops in Afghanistan, to the Multinational Aviation Centre, to the EOD Centre of Excellence. You are a vital link to the Alliance’s success”.
Concluding his statement, General Shepro highlighted the important role NATO plays as a major security provider, “NATO has for almost 70 years, deterred conflict and assured peace in Europe from a position of strength. Today, the NFIU Slovakia becomes an important component of that strength”.
During the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to implement the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence. Allies welcomed the implementation of the Readiness Action Plan (RAP) and agreed to further strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture with an enhanced forward presence in the eastern and southeast part of Alliance territory and a framework for NATO’s adaptation in response to growing challenges and threats emanating from the south.
To reinforce the readiness and the rapid deployment of these forces, NATO Allies decided to set up eight small headquarters or NFIUs in the eastern part of the Alliance to support collective defence planning, facilitate coordinating training and exercises as well as warehouse equipment and supplies.
The first seven NFIUs were established in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Hungary. The opening of the final NFIU in Slovakia demonstrates that the implementation of the RAP is on track and on time.