Rapid Reaction Force

NATO has a rapid response force: the NATO Response Force (NRF). NATO can deploy the response force all over the world within 5 to 30 days subject to the consent of all member states.

Units and response times

The NRF comprises units with various response times.

  • The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF): this ‘spearhead force’ is the unit that can be deployed most rapidly.
  • Initial Follow-on Forces Group (IFFG): units with a longer response time, which can reinforce the VJTF.
  • Follow-on Forces Group (FFG): units without a pre-determined response time.

The composition of the NRF is changed every 12 months.

The Dutch contribution in 2017

The Netherlands also provides units to the NRF. In 2017, it is contributing:

  • a raiding squadron of marines for the land component of the spearhead force. The marines will provide their own combat support and logistics;
  • 4 F-16s that are part of the air component of the spearhead force (2nd half of 2017). In addition, there are 4 F-16s available with longer response times;
  • an air defence and command frigate (with NH90 maritime combat helicopter) for the maritime component (4 months);
  • a minehunter for mine countermeasure groups (two periods of 3 to 4 months);
  • a submarine ready to deploy (2nd half of 2017);
  • the First German/Netherlands Corps that serves as the Joint Task Force Headquarters (from July 2017 - June 2018).

The Dutch contribution in 2018

In 2019, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway will provide the land component of the VJTF. In 2018, the units involved will prepare for deployment and participate in the IFFG. The following units are involved:

  • a mechanised infantry battalion with its own combat and logistics support;
  • an anti-tank company;
  • a field artillery battery;
  • a reconnaissance platoon;
  • military personnel for the brigade headquarters;
  • a raiding squadron of marines with a longer response time.

In 2018, the Netherlands will also contribute:

  • an air defence and command frigate that serves as command platform: the Netherlands will command the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (2nd half of 2018);
  • a command platform for the Belgian commander of the Standing NATO Mine Measures Group 1 (1st half of 2018);
  • 2 minehunters (for 3 to 4 months);
  • a submarine ready to deploy (2nd half of 2018);
  • 4 F-16s that are part of the air component of the spearhead force. In addition, there are 4 F-16s available with longer response times;
  • the First German/Netherlands Army Corps that serves as the Joint Task Force Headquarters (from July 2017 - June 2018).

EU Battlegroup

The EU also has combat units numbering approximately 3,000 military personnel on stand-by. This battlegroup (EUBG) is equipped with all the required specialisations, such as combat support, logistics and transport. It is capable of conducting missions worldwide, ranging in duration from 30 up to 120 days. In principle, the possible deployment areas will be within a 6,000 kilometres radius of Brussels.

Battlegroups allow the EU to rapidly and robustly intervene in countries where the situation is threatening to get out of hand or has already done so. EU Battlegroups can also be deployed for evacuation operations and humanitarian aid operations.

The Dutch contribution in 2018

In 2018, the Netherlands will form the EUBG together with Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria. The Dutch contribution comprises parts of the headquarters of 13 Light Armoured Brigade and an infantry battalion with combat support and logistic support. In the first half of 2018, the Netherlands will also have command of the EUBG.