- Title: NETHERLANDS: NATO INAUGURATES NEW RESPONSE FORCE.
- Date: 16th October 2003
- Summary: (EU) BRUNSSUM, THE NETHERLANDS (OCTOBER 15, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. MV: NATO SOLDIERS MARCHING 0.05 2. GV: SOLDIERS LINING UP 0.08 3. MV: COMMANDER SHOUTING 0.10 4. MV/CU/GV: GENERAL JAMES L. JONES, SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER IN EUROPE INSPECTING TROOPS; JONES TALKING TO SOLDIER; CONTINUING INSPECTION (3 SHOTS) 0.35 5. GV: GENERAL SIR JACK DEVERELL, COMMAND IN CHIEF ALLIED FORCES NORTH GIVING SPEECH 0.43 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL SIR JACK DEVERELL, COMMAND IN CHIEF ALLIED FORCES, SAYING: "The NATO Response Force and Force and the Combined Joint Task Force are complementary, indeed a NRF mission may well be the forerunner of a full CJTF mission. Therefore, the transition from one to another must be seamless." 0.58 7. GV/MV/CU: NRF (NATO RESPONSE FORCE) FLAG; SOLDIER HANDING NRF FLAG TO SUPREME COMMANDER; SUPREME COMMANDER HANDING FLAG TO TROOP COMMANDER; SOLDIER HOLDING FLAG, PAN TO FLAG (5 SHOTS) 1.39 8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JON LILLAND, CHIEF PLANS AND POLICY AFNORTH (ALLIED FORCES NORTH), SAYING: "This is a symbol for NATO transformation, so it will mean a lot on NATO's ability to transform to, and introduce a new way of operation, new technology etcetera. This will be the symbol of how we can transform the alliance into something from today that is relevant for the future." 2.06 9. CU/TV/PAN: TROOPS STANDING (2 SHOTS) 2.21 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 31st October 2003 12:00
- Location: BRUNSSUM, THE NETHERLANDS
- Country: Netherlands
- Reuters ID: LVA5KPFIFQSR3J4J2N7EGMVM1QCU
- Story Text: NATO has inaugurated a new force - the NATO Response
Force - created to field troops quickly to wherever they
A cutting-edge force of warships, fighter planes and
9,000 troops was born on Wednesday (October 15), the
product of NATO's (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's)
drive to provide the answer to post-September 11 security
threats wherever they blow up.
It was a rare moment of glory for the Cold War
alliance, which was plunged into self-doubt when it was
sidelined after the 2001 hijacked airliner attacks on the
United States and transatlantic divisions over Iraq.
The alliance's top soldier, U.S. Marines General James
Jones, said the birth of the NATO Response Force (NRF) was
"one of the most important changes" in the organisation
since its founding Washington Treaty was signed 54 years
"The NATO Response Force and Force and the Combined
Joint Task Force are complementary, indeed a NRF mission
may well be the forerunner of a full CJTF mission.
Therefore, the transition from one to another must be
seamless," Jones said.
Jones handed the new force's flag to its commander,
General Jack Deverell, during a ceremony at the 19-nation
alliance's northern headquarters in Brunssum, the
The NRF -- lethal, agile and ready to be deployed to
hotspots within five days -- is expected to grow to some
20,000 troops and become fully operational by October 2006.
Jones said some countries with cumbersome and
time-consuming parliamentary procedures for authorising
military action abroad, such as Germany, Hungary, the
Netherlands and Turkey, had agreed to consider making
exceptions for the NRF.
He told a news conference that if these countries could
not smooth the way to rapid deployment, their forces would
have to be excluded.
The "prototype" of the expeditionary force unveiled on
Wednesday is not ready for high-intensity combat. But
officials say that, even in its infancy, it could be
deployed for non-combat rescue operations and humanitarian
crises, or as a show of force to deter aggression.
Of the 14 nations in the start-up force, Spain will
make the biggest contribution with 2,200 troops as well as
ships and aircraft, and France will be next with 1,700
personnel. Spain will command the maritime component and
Turkey the land forces.
The United States, despite its giant military stature,
will chip in with just 300 troops. Jones said that many
U.S. troops were tied up in Iraq, but stressed that
Washington would be contributing key technology now and
more troops later.
The NRF is the product of relentless prodding by
outgoing NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, who told
defence ministers of the alliance at a meeting in Colorado
Springs last week that there was a need for real deployable
soldiers, rather than paper armies.
A wargame played out at that meeting, in which a rescue
mission escalated into a crisis involving terrorists and
weapons of mass destruction, sought to show the potential
of an elite force ready for lightning deployment anywhere
in the world.
For 50 years NATO forces were organised, trained and
equipped to deter or defeat Soviet aggression in Europe.
The NRF, a concept floated by Washington at a time when
many had doubts about the U.S. commitment to NATO, is a key
plank in efforts to overhaul that Cold War military
posture, which was static, reactive and regional.
NATO has already taken steps to put more spring into
its military stride, streamlining its command structure and
committing members to spend both more and more wisely on
It has also ended years of debate over whether it
should act in far-flung lands, and two months ago it took
command of the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.
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