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Germany leads NATO rapid reaction force


If NATO had to send troops out quickly this year, German soldiers would be at the forefront: since the turn of the year, the Bundeswehr has been responsible for spearheading the alliance.

Enlarge image

A German soldier looks out of the hatch of a Marder infantry fighting vehicle (archive photo from 2015): The older model has to serve

Photo: Kay Nietfeld/ dpa

At the beginning of the year, Germany took over the leadership of NATO's rapid reaction force.

The so-called spearhead of the military alliance consists of around 11,500 land forces alone this year.

The Bundeswehr provides about 8,000 men and women.

Other forces come from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia.

The force, officially called the VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force), was set up during the first major Ukraine crisis after 2014 and has since been a central element of the deterrence strategy against Russia.

Their special feature is the high degree of readiness.

It should be able to mobilize up to 20,000 soldiers within a few days and transfer them to crisis areas.

The upcoming German takeover of command in December caused headlines due to technical problems with the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, which was actually supposed to be used for the mission.

During an exercise in preparation for the VJTF deployment, all 18 deployed Puma tanks failed.

As part of the NATO commitment, they are now being replaced by the much older Marder tanks.

According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, however, the lack of equipment in the Bundeswehr does not pose a risk for the VJTF.

He knows that the Bundeswehr has well-trained and well-equipped soldiers who can do the job very well.

100 billion euros extra for defense spending

In addition, Stoltenberg pointed out that the VJTF does not consist solely of German units: "Germany will be the leading nation, but there will be other nations that participate in this force," he said.

"I am absolutely certain that all nine nations that will be responsible for the NATO task force will meet the NATO requirements."

Regarding the lack of equipment in the Bundeswehr, Stoltenberg said: "Certainly there are gaps and deficits." That's why he also welcomes the German commitment to make an extra 100 billion euros available and to further increase defense spending.

Germany runs the VJTF for one year.

It is currently part of the NATO crisis response force NRF (NATO Response Force), whose total strength was last given as around 40,000 soldiers.

In addition to land forces, it also includes air and naval forces and special forces.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-01-01

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