NATO to strenghten its Response Force

imgThe main issue for NATO defence ministers during their meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday will be how NATO is adapting to a new and more challenging security environment, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. Speaking at a press conference at the NATO headquarters here on Monday, Stoltenberg said that just a few days ago he visited Poland, and there saw the new Spearhead Force exercising. “This is the first deployment on an exercise of this newly established, very high readiness joint task force or Spearhead force of NATO.
And the establishment of this new Spearhead Force and the exercise in Poland sends a very clear signal about that NATO is here. And NATO is ready,” he said Stoltenberg said NATO defence ministers will take decisions to further increase the strength and the capability of the NATO Response Force. “All together, it will amount to between 30,000 and 40,000 troops – more than double its previous size,” he said.
The second decision the NATO chief said he expect ministers to make relates to how we are increasing the readiness and the responsiveness of our forces.
“We are giving our Supreme Commander, SACEUR, more authority to prepare our troops for deployment and get them ready to go once the political decision is made,” he said.
“And third, we will set up a new logistics headquarters within the NATO command structure, better to coordinate and manage the movement of our forces across Alliance territory and their central supplies,” said Stoltenberg.
Noting that NATO today published it defence spending figures for 2014, and estimates for 2015, he said this they expect five countries to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence , Estonia, Greece, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“This is good news. But the picture is mixed. Overall, we expect total NATO defence expenditure to continue to decrease in 2015 by 1.5 percent. And this comes on top of a steady decline in especially European NATO allies defence expenditure during a long period of time,” he said and urged to to redouble efforts to reverse this trend. On Thursday, the second day of the meeting, NATO ministers met with Ukraine’s new defence minister in the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
“We will there reaffirm our strong commitment to an independent, peaceful and prosperous Ukraine. And to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.
Stoltenberg said NATO is neither in Cold War nor in strategic partnership with Russia but something in-between.
The NATO defence ministers will review progress made since the launch of Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan at the start of the year and the evolution of this mission.

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