SPAIN has handed over command of NATO’s Response Force to the UK for 2017. Spain held the role for 2016.
The handover took place at Britain’s NATO headquarters in Gloucester, overseen by General Varela Salas and Brigadier General Luis Cebrián and their British counterparts Lieutenant General Tim Radford, head of the British NATO Headquarters and Brigadier General Mike Elvis, head of the British Armoured Brigade.
The NATO Response Force is a multinational force, comprising air, land and sea troops, ready to deploy at very short notice to defend against crises such as terrorist attack, war or natural disaster. It was formed in 2002 and is a highly technologically advanced team which is led by a different NATO country each year.
Spain was the first nation to lead the NATO Response Force, a group of troops who are on standby and can be deployed with just days’ notice. UK Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said that “The UK’s Armed Forces stand ready, at a moment’s notice, to defend our allies and protect the British national interest.”
Spain’s ‘Galicia’ VII Brigade, will continue to play a role in the NATO Response Force and will contribute 800 troops with a reaction time of just five days if required.
The UK will this year also be supported by the United States, Denmark, Norway and Poland.