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Mar 1 2022

NATO Response Force land elements DEPLOY TO Romania

SZCZECIN, Poland - On 28 February, the first land elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF) deployed to Romania. NRF was activated in reaction to Russia's unprovoked and unjustified armed aggression against Ukraine. "This is an historic moment and the very first time the Alliance has employed these high readiness forces in a deterrence and defence role," General Tod D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) stated. In 2022, the land responsibility of NRF is assigned to Rapid Reaction Corps France (RRC-FRA).

"With the response plans approved by the North Atlantic Council and in line with the evolving security environment, we are now employing elements of the NATO Response Force," reads the SACEUR's statement issued on 25 February.

These deterrence measures are prudent and enhance our speed, responsiveness and capability to shield and protect the one billion citizens we swore to protect.

On 13 January 2022, RRC-FRA—headquartered in Lille, France—took over the land responsibility of NRF 22 from NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Turkey, who had the mission for all of 2021. The RRC-FRA's preparations for this role began in 2020 and culminated in October 2021 during exercise Steadfast Jupiter 21 (STJU21) in Stavanger, Norway. Exercise STJU21 was NATO's largest and most challenging command post exercise for 2021. The standards for NRF participation are high, and all soldiers participating in NRF 22 have successfully completed an arduous NATO exercise package in order to integrate and standardise the various national contingents.

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LTG Pierre Gillet, COM RRC-FRA, assumes command of NRF 22 Land Component in Lille, France, 13 Jan. 2022 / Photo by RRC-FRA
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The French 27nd Mountain Infantry Bde's units with RRC-FRA prepare to deploy to Romania, 27 Feb. 2022 / Photo by 93e RAM
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Soldiers with the French 27nd Mountain Infantry Bde's line up ahead of deployment to Romania as part of NRF 22, 27 Feb. 2022 / Photo by 93e RAM.
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After the activation of NRF 22, soldiers with the French 27nd Mountain Infantry Bde's units prepare to deploy as first elements of NRF 22, 27 Feb. 2022 / Photo by 93e RAM 

RRC-FRA is under the lead of Allied Joint Force Command (JFCBS), located in Brunssum, Netherlands. General Jörg Vollmer, Commander JFCBS, has under his authority the land component, air component and maritime component of NRF 22: "Our task as NRF is to safeguard NATO and to deter any possible aggressor."

At the tactical level, JFCBS is supported by a number of component commanders drawn from NATO nations. The Land Component commander for 2022 is Headquarters Rapid Reaction Corps (France), the Maritime Component Commander is Commander United Kingdom Strike Force, and the Air Component Commander is NATO AIRCOM at Ramstein Airbase in Germany, supported by the French Joint Force Air Component.

NRF consists of the full spectrum of military effects, including Special Operations Forces, Counter-CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) Forces and Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC). Command of Special Operations Forces is provided by Italian Joint Special Forces Operations Headquarters, Counter-CBRN is provided by a French CBRN Battalion and CIMIC by the Multinational CIMIC Group, based in Italy.

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Representing the Alliance's NFR 22, soldiers with the French 27nd Mountain Infantry Bde.'s units arrive in Romania marking the first ever deployment of NRF, 28 Feb. 2022 / Photo by RRC-FRA

Forming part of NRF, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is also established on a rotational basis. In 2022, VJTF is composed of a land brigade—supported by air, sea and Special Forces—and is capable of deploying at very short notice when the sovereignty of any member of the Alliance is under threat.  Led by RRC-FRA, VJTF comprises a multinational force of several thousand troops. The majority of the force is comprised of units from the lead brigade.

Altogether, NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly to wherever it is needed. In his statement on the NRF activation, GEN Wolters emphasized:

Your soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines stand ready to protect every meter of Allied territory. We admire the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and citizens in defending their country. The Alliance remains steadfast in our collective commitment to shield and protect each other.
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RRC-FRA takes over the land responsibility of NRF 22 from NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Turkey, who had the mission for all of 2021 / Photo by RRC-FRA

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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