Monday, May 16, 2016

Return of the Rapid Deployment NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)

A senior NATO general told the publication that substantial Russian military assets along the Polish and Lithuanian borders exposed the VJTF to being overrun before it was ready to fight.
The spokesperson stressed that NATO is "fully aware" of Russian capabilities in the westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad that "pose challenges" to the 28-member Western alliance.
"We are considering these additional dimensions as we strengthen and modernize our deterrence and defense posture, looking to the [July 8-9] Warsaw summit," the spokesperson added.
The VJTF's shortcomings are reported to be the reason why NATO foreign ministers are expected to meet this week and add to the Warsaw summit's agenda the deployment of four battalions in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
One Polish diplomat said the added troops along the Russian border is the "absolute minimum" of what is needed to deter the perceived Russian threat.
A NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force?  Forward Deployed to the battle area?  What is SHAPE smoking!  This is from their website...
Fact SheetNATO Response Force (NRF)

The NATO Response Force (NRF) was established in 2003 as a high readiness force comprising of air, land, maritime and special forces units capable of rapid deployment.  The NRF is capable of performing a wide variety of tasks including:
  • Immediate collective defence response capability, prior to arrival of other forces;
  • Crisis management & peace support operations;
  • Disaster relief and the protection of critical infrastructure.
Overall command of this force belongs to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).  NATO’s two Joint Force Commands (based in Brunssum, The Netherlands and Naples, Italy) have operational command of the NRF each year on a rotational basis.  Rotating forces through the NRF requires contributing Allies and partner nations to meet strict standards and adopt procedures required for defensive and expeditionary operations.  As a result, participation in the NRF is preceded by a six-month NATO exercise programme in order to integrate and standardize the various national contingents.  Additional training serials are carried out by contributing nations during the 6-18 month period prior to assuming the role of an NRF high-readiness unit.

The Enhanced NRF: developing the VJTF concept

At the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO Allies agreed to enhance the capabilities of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in order to adapt and respond to emerging security challenges posed by Russia, as well as the risks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa.
This is weird!  So this enhanced Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is built on the bones of the NATO Response Force which is built on the muscle of "Immediate Action Forces" that all NATO members already have.

Why does NATO always build bureaucracy instead of combat power?   My take on this is simple.  NATO is expanding east and Russia will respond...and badly.  This is a terrible idea and is creating friction.  I really wish someone would take a step back.  I don't fear the Russians.  I don't hate them either.  We could so easily have a working relationship and help provide order to a disorderly world...I really wonder why our military/civilian leadership can't see that.  Even if this is an Administration driven imperative, on a military to military basis we could still drive down tensions instead of ramping them up.

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