Defense Minister Fallon: Britain to Lead ‘High Readiness’ NATO Force

Royal Marines training in Norway, Feb. 17, 2014From BBC:  The UK will play a lead role in a “high readiness” Nato force that will be established in Eastern Europe, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced.

Britain will send up to 1,000 troops and four RAF Typhoon jets for “air policing” in the region, he said….

Mr Fallon said Nato’s credibility in the face of the security challenges depended on “everyone playing their part” to implement decisions taken to bolster its forces at a summit of member states in Wales last year.

“Strong words must be backed up with firm action,” he said….

Nato defence ministers have gathered in Brussels to discuss the details of the “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force” (VJTF), which will form Nato’s first response in the face of aggression….

The UK will be the force’s lead nation in 2017 and then on rotation thereafter, Mr Fallon said.

He said the UK would contribute manpower to two regional headquarters in Poland and Romania, and to force integration units in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

The UK will also send four RAF Typhoon jets to support the Nato’s Baltic air policing mission in 2015, he confirmed.

From Kyle MacLellan, Reuters:  Four Royal Air Force Typhoons will operate alongside Norwegian aircraft between May and August to secure airspace over Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, it added. Typhoons were involved in patrols over the Baltic States last year too.

NATO’s credibility in the face of the security challenges we face depends on everyone playing their part to implement the decisions taken at Wales last year,” Fallon said in a statement.

Image: Royal Marines training in Norway, Feb. 17, 2014 (photo: UK Ministry of Defense)