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NATO defense ministers agree to establish Spearhead Force

NATO defense ministers agreed on Thursday to strengthen the Alliance's collective defense.

The decisions would "ensure that we have the right forces in the right place at the right time," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the press conference following the meeting.

The defense ministers agreed that the Readiness Action Plan, approved at Wales Summit last year, strengthens NATO's collective defense and its crisis management capability.

The defense ministers agreed to enhance the NATO Response Force, and decided on the size and scope of a new very high readiness force, the Spearhead Force.

"We decided that this very high readiness force will consist of a land brigade of around 5,000 troops. These will be supported by air, sea and special forces," said Stoltenberg.

He said the Spearhead Force would be backed up by two more brigades "as a rapid reinforcement capability in case of a major crisis." Altogether, the enhanced NATO Response Force "would count up to around 30,000 troops."

The defense ministers also decided to immediately establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

"If a crisis arises, they will ensure that national and NATO forces from across the Alliance are able to act as one from the start. They will make rapid deployment easier," said Stoltenberg.

[Source: Xinhua, Brussels, 05Feb15]

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