NATO’s Collective Defense Plan Progresses

NATO strengthened its collective defense initiative on Oct. 8 by adding two NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs)—one in Hungary and one in Slovakia. Defense ministers also agreed on command and control details of the Enhanced NATO Response Force—part of the Readiness Action Plan from the 2014 Summit in Wales. “This sends a clear message to all NATO citizens: NATO will defend you. NATO is on the ground. NATO is ready,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. This restructuring of the Alliance’s collective defense aims to increase its ability to respond quickly and effectively to threats, primarily by supporting the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), or Spearhead Force, trained to respond to threats within 48 hours. The NFIUs in Hungary and Slovakia will be in addition to the six that were activated in September in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. “We now have everything in place to make the response force stronger, faster, and more capable,” said Stoltenberg. Germany will lead the Spearhead force in 2019, though troops have already begun training and are expected to be fully operational by the 2016 Warsaw Summit.