Updated: 10-Jan-2003 January 2003

9 Jan. 2003


Operational testing
of NATO high readiness HQ finalised

A military exercise held in Italy in early December -“Light Ship 02” - marked the end of the operational testing of the last of six rapidly deployable corps headquarters available to NATO.

The Alliance is currently in the process of reforming its force structure to meet the security threats of the 21st century. Under the new concept, NATO forces should be able to rapidly deploy to crisis areas and remain sustainable, be it within or outside NATO member countries. An important aspect of this process is creating rapidly deployable command elements, which can be quickly dispatched to lead troops sent to a crisis area.

The Italian Corps HQ in Milan was the last of six land-based, corps-size headquarters, which in 2002 underwent an intense NATO certification programme to qualify as NATO rapidly deployable headquarters.

Each headquarters had to demonstrate its capabilities in 50 areas, both in the barracks and in the field. These included operations, planning, logistics, administration and command and control, with an emphasis on deployability, mobility, communications, readiness and interoperability.

All six headquarters have now completed the operational evaluation programme. This marks an important milestone in the implementation of NATO’s new force structure, only 18 months after the Alliance agreed on the restructuring of its forces.

The other five rapidly deployable corps headquarters that completed the evaluation programme are:

  • The Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) HQ in Rheindalen (Germany);
  • The EUROCORPS HQ in Strasbourg (France).
  • The Rapid Deployable Turkish Corps HQ near Istanbul (Turkey);
  • The Rapid Deployable German-Netherlands Corps HQ in Munster (Germany);
  • The Rapid Deployable Spanish Corps HQ in Valencia (Spain).

Additional information:

  • SHAPE Press Release: Four New Multinational, Rapidly Deployable Headquarters Assigned To NATO - 23 September 2002
  • NATO Update: Four headquarters designated as NATO international headquarters - 23 September 2002