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NATO Response Force

The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a technologically advanced, multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces components, that are rapidly deployable. It provides collective defence and a rapid military response to an emerging crisis. In addition, it can perform peace-support operations, provide protection to critical infrastructure and support disaster relief.

The NRF was created in 2002. Overall command belongs to Supreme Allied Commander Europe. NATO's Joint Force Command Brunssum and Joint Force Command Naples assume the operational command on a rotational basis.

The NRF structure is comprised of 4 parts:
  • Command and Control element: based on a deployable Joint Task Force HQ 
  • Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)
  • Initial Follow On Forces Group: These are high-readiness forces that can deploy quickly following the VJTF, in response to a crisis
  • Response Forces Pool: NATO retains a broad spectrum of military capabilities encompassing command and control, combat and support units through the Responses Forces Pool (RFP). The forces are drawn from the much wider pool of Allied or Partners National deployable forces.
Allies and partner nations have to meet strict standards to participate to the NRF. As a result, during the 6-18 month period prior to assuming the role of an NRF high-readiness unit, various training and exercises are held to integrate the national contingents and standardise their procedures.

Following the Wales Summit in 2014, Allies decided to enhance the NRF by creating a Spearhead Force within it. The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force was formed to better respond to the changing security environment to the east and south of the Alliance's borders.

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