Forward Based NATO Headquarters

Brussels NATO defense ministers on June 24 approved six forward integration headquarters on the Alliance’s eastern border to aid the movement and deployment of rapid reaction forces. The 40-person headquarters, called “NATO Force Integration Units,” or NFIUs, will be based in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told visiting reporters. Each will play a “key role in planning, exercises, and assisting potential reinforcement” of Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and NATO response force deployments. Stoltenberg said the ministers could consider setting up more of these units in other NATO states in the future, noting the Alliance also plans to set up a “Joint Logistics Headquarters” to assist VJTF and NRF forces to move quickly across NATO territory by providing supplies, equipment, and transit. A senior NATO official, speaking on background, said the six support headquarters are in the process of being stood up already and the Alliance expects to recognize them as part of its headquarters structure “in the course of the summer.” All six locations will be running and able to support forces as of Jan. 1, 2016. Slightly different for each country, the NFIUs will have “international character” but will understand the character of the country where they are located and how NATO forces can effectively operate there. The NATO official added the “Joint Standing Logistics Group” would be centralized inside the NATO command structure, and enable support to NATO operations, providing fuel, munitions, stocks, and other equipment. (See also NATO Enhances Rapid Response Forces, Policies.)