Germany takes over leadership of NATO’s ‘spearhead force’
Germany took over the leadership of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) at the start of the new year.
Germany’s Bundeswehr now contributes about 8,000 soldiers of the VJTF’s total of 11,500.
As the force with the highest readiness for short-term deployments, the VJTF must be prepared for deployment to any location within 48 to 72 hours.
NATO describes its “spearhead force,” whose leadership changes annually, as an essential contribution to deterrence and defence in Europe.
“While Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine continues to threaten peace and security in Europe, there must be no doubt about NATO’s determination to protect and defend every inch of the alliance’s territory,” said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu in Brussels before the turn of the year.
The other eight NATO countries participating in the multinational forces this year are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia.
The lead unit for the VJTF’s land units is the Free State of Saxony armoured infantry brigade 37.
Of the brigade’s approximately 5,000 soldiers, about 4,000 report to NATO. The VJTF was established in reaction to the Russian annexation of Crimea at a NATO summit in Wales in September 2014.
Since then, NATO has increased the protection of its allies in the east who feel threatened by Russia.
Following technical issues in December with the Bundeswehr’s new Puma infantry fighting vehicle, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht announced that the German soldiers would be using the Marder combat vehicle in their VJTF participation.