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Germany to Lead NATO Forces

On Sunday, January 1, 2023, Germany will take the helm of NATO’s military force with the highest operational readiness level and will make its soldiers ready for duty in a few days.

NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) was created in 2014 at the headquarters of the NATO Response Force. Türkiye carried out this task in 2021 and handed it over to France. In 2022, Germany took over the task from France. Following the Russia-Ukraine war that started in February this year, NATO deployed VJTF elements to Romania for the unit’s first collective defence mission.

In 2023, the ground forces of the VJTF will consist of approximately 11,500 thousand soldiers, with the 37th Panzergrenadier Brigade at its centre. Nine NATO Allies – Belgium, Czechia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia – will contribute. Major units include Germany’s Panzerbataillon 393, Artillerielehrbataillon 345 (Artillery Training Battalion), Versorgungsbataillon 131 (Supply Battalion) and Transporthubschrauberregiment 30 (Transport Helicopter Regiment). Germany is also leading the VJTF’s Special Forces Command for the first time.

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said: “Germany is an important ally and we thank Germany for leading the VJTF in 2023. While Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine continues to threaten peace and security in Europe, there should be no doubt about NATO’s determination to protect and defend every inch of Allied territory. The VJTF is NATO’s first response force and a key part of our collective defence. Germany’s leadership is a powerful demonstration of its determination and capabilities.’’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a statement before the NATO summit in Madrid last June, said that NATO wanted to increase the number of VJTF troops to over 300.000, more than seven times the current number.

The number of soldiers that make up the NATO Response Force (NRF) is currently 40.000. Existing troops are currently insufficient to reach this number. In order to realize the decision, new associations need to be formed. NATO, on the other hand, wants to implement this decision in the medium term.

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