Friday, April 10, 2015

NATO's New Spearhead Force Conducts First Exercise


                NATO's New Spearhead Force


                         First Exercise

   NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

In-Depth Coverage

07 Apr. 2015 - 09 Apr. 2015

NATO completed the first military drills for its new rapid reaction force, on Thursday (9 April 2015). From Tuesday (7 April 2015) through Thursday, more than 1,500 troops took part in exercise "Noble Jump," designed to test whether troops assigned to NATO's new Spearhead Force, or Very High Joint Readiness Task Force, could be ready to deploy 48 hours after receiving an order-to-move.

Across Europe, headquarters personnel from Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Poland and Portugal tested their responses to NATO alert orders. In the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, troops and equipment were assembled quickly at airfields and railway stations as if they were about to depart. The units involved in this week's exercise will also be involved in further trials in Poland in June.

"NATO military planners have been working tirelessly to enhance NATO's Response Force and implement the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, and today our progress is manifested in the rapid deployments we see happening in locations across the Alliance," said General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe. "These measures are defensive, but are a clear indication that our Alliance has the capability and will to respond to emerging security challenges on our southern and eastern flanks," he said.

In response to the changed security environment in Europe, NATO leaders at the Wales Summit decided to create a new quick reaction military force designed to respond swiftly to new challenges on the Alliance's southern and eastern borders. The high readiness force will include about 5,000 land troops, with supporting maritime, special operations and air units. Lead elements of the new force will be able to move in as little as 48 hours. The Spearhead Force is part of the Alliance's larger NATO Response Force, which is being increased to a force level of around 30,000 troops.

Further Reading

Keep the Russians out,
Keep the Americans in, and
Keep the Germans down.
Lord Ismay, 1967

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

SHAPESupreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe
Joint Force Command HQ Brunssum
Joint Force Command HQ Naples
Joint Headquarters Lisbon
ARRCAllied Rapid Reaction Corps
Spearhead Force
Very High Readiness JTF
NATO Response Force
Multinational Corps Northeast
Rapid Deployable Italian Corps
Rapid Deployable Turkish Corps
Rapid Deployable German-Netherlands Corps
Rapid Deployable Spanish Corps
NATO Deployable Corps - Greece
RF(A)SReaction Forces (Air) Staff -
NAEWFNATO Airborne Early Warning Force
Immediate Reaction Forces (Maritime)
ACE Mobile Force - AMF
STRIKFORNATONaval Striking and Support Forces
STANAVFORLANTStanding Naval Force Atlantic
STANAVFORMEDStanding Naval Forces Mediterranean
STANAVFORCHANStanding Naval Forces Channel

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO; French: Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord ("OTAN"); also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, or the Western Alliance) is a military alliance, established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949. In accordance with that Treaty, the fundamental role of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means. NATO is playing an increasingly important role in crisis management and peacekeeping.

By the late 1990s not all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members participated in all aspects of the commonly funded budgets. Although all 16 members participate fully in the civil budget, Spain and France did not participate in all aspects of the military budget or the NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP). Further, the NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) program, funded through the military budget but with its own negotiated cost shares, did not include France, Spain, and Iceland, and the United Kingdom only partially participates in it. Finally, although Iceland iscounted as a participant in the NSIP, its cost share is zero.

Since the end of the Cold War, the NATO alliance has been evolving to meet the new security needs of the 21stCentury. In this era, the threats to Europe and America originate primarily from outside Europe, particularly from the Greater Middle East. There was initially strong support among members for NATO's operations in Afghanistan.

In 1994 NATO launched the Partnership for Peace. This program, which initially included 27 non-NATO states, is open to all the countries of Europe and the former Soviet Union. In May 1997, President Clinton and the other NATO leaders signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act, reflecting the desire to build a new and constructive relationship with a democratic, peaceful Russia.

NATO has enlarged six times since its founding in 1949 - adding Greece and Turkey in 1952, Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982. As a member of NATO since 1982, Spain has been a valued ally and participant in international security activities. At the Madrid summit in July 1997, President Clinton and the other NATO leaders unanimously decided to invite Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to begin the process of joining NATO. The three new members, bringing total membership to 19 states, added approximately 200,000 troops to NATO's ranks in 1998. By early 2002 nine European countries had applied for NATO membership: Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. All were participating in the Membership Action Plan set up during the 1999 Washington Summit. At Prague, on November 21, 2002, the members' heads of state designated the three Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia), Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia, as prospective members, bringing total membership to 26 states. The applications of Albania and Macedonia were deferred. On April 4, 2009 NATO marked 60 years of operation by welcoming two new countries - Albania and Croatia - to the alliance during a ceremony in Strasbourg, France, bringing total membership to 28 states.

In 1949 France was a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a regional defense alliance led by the trans-Atlantic partners. France has relied on NATO ever since, while also insisting on a degree of independence in military affairs. In 1966 France, wanting sole control of its nuclear weapons, withdrew its forces from NATO's integrated military command structure, while remaining a member of NATO's political councils. NATO today is no longer the NATO of 1966, when President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from the Alliance's military command out of concerns over preserving the country's foreign policy independence.

In 1995 France rejoined the military structure and has since worked actively to adapt NATO - internally and externally - to the post-Cold War environment. By 2005 France was one of NATO's top military contributors. The French currently led NATO forces in Kosovo, are participating in NATO military operations in Afghanistan and have offered to train 1,500 Iraqi police outside of Iraq. The French military has been an active supporter of NATO's modernization and was a leading contributor to the NATO Response Force.

France is a longtime contributor to NATO missions from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo to Afghanistan. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans in Paris on 11 March 2009 for France to fully rejoin NATO.In a March 11 speech at the École Militaire in Paris, Sarkozy announced his intention to end France's self-imposed exile from the alliance's leadership. Times have changed, he said, and as the alliance's fourth-largest contributor of funds and deployed troops, France can better protect its interests in the face of emerging security challenges by having a voice in strategic discussions at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. By fully rejoining the alliance, France's military will benefit from support with force modernization and greater interoperability with its NATO allies. Full membership may also open new opportunities for the French defense industry, say analysts, as well as build support for closer defense cooperation among European nations.

Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat said on 29 September 2009 that his country needed a transition period "to convince the people about the need of joining NATO, and to change the perception of NATO as a hostile bloc, which has been created under the influence of Russian media." Commenting on Filat's remarks, Sergei Nazaria, director of the Moldovan Center for Strategic Analysis, said that Moldova's accession to NATO "is unnecessary. ... From my perspective, we do not face any threats today and nobody is planning to attack us. In the present geopolitical situation, it makes sense to maintain Moldova's neutrality," he said. He said that if Moldova joined NATO in the foreseeable future, it could end up in confrontation with Russia. "The North Atlantic alliance is not quite a friendly organization for Russia. If we join NATO, we will be perceived as 'not very good people'... This will lead to a dramatic worsening of relations with Russia," he said.

On 02 October 2009 a delegation from Bosnia-Herzegovina handed in an official application for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). MAP is designed to assist aspiring partner countries meet NATO standards and prepare for possible future membership. Aspiring nations must first participate in MAP before they join the alliance. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed Bosnia's move, and said he was expecting the country's leadership to conduct further democratic reforms. After joining NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina signed an agreement on security cooperation in March 2007. The Balkans nation began further cooperation with NATO within the Individual Partnership Action Plan in January 2008. Bosnia then started the process of Intensified Dialogue at the 2008 Bucharest summit and expects to join NATO between 2012 and 2015. Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

As of late-2009, pending membes include Macedonia, Georgia and Ukraine. By the end of 2012, Ukraine was no longer interested in NATO membership, while the list of countries seeking membership had grown to include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia. Greece continued to block Macedonia's entry into the alliance because of the dispute over Macedonia's name.

The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is a NATO program of advice, assistance and practical support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the Alliance. Participation in the MAP does not prejudge any decision by the Alliance on future membership. Current participants in the MAP are the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1, which has been participating in the MAP since 1999, and Montenegro, which was invited to join in December 2009.


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