NATO to increase high alert forces from 40,000 to 300,000

NATOA and Estonia flags.
NATOA and Estonia flags. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

NATO will significantly increase the number of forces on high alert from 40,000 to over 300,000, the UK's Sky News reported on Monday.

"We will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000," Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, speaking at a briefing before the alliance's Madrid summit.

Forces currently on high alert are known as the NATO Response Force (NRF), which is a multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces components that the alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed.

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, NATO deployed high-readiness elements of the NRF for the first time in a deterrence and defense role. 

NATO's Eastern Flank (June 2022). Source: NATO

The number of troops stationed in countries "closest to Russia" will also expand, Sky News wrote. Currently, Estonia hosts 2,000 NATO troops and approximately the same number are also in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The summit starts in Spain on June 28 and will be attended by representatives from all 30 members of the alliance. It will approve NATO's plans for the next decade.

Estonia has submitted a joint proposal with Latvia and Lithuania for permanent division command structures in each country, additional troops and pre-positioned arms and supplies.

A division is the smallest possible unit that can guarantee the interoperability of all types of forces – land, sea and air, the Ministry of Defense told ERR News earlier this month.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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