the war in Ukraine has led the leaders of the NATO to support a new defensive plan at the Madrid summit that will allow the Alliance to deploy 300,000 soldiers at any point in the transatlantic organization within a maximum period of thirty days, if necessary to respond to an emergency or crisis.
This initiative is part of the measures that NATO has taken in recent months in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is one of the main results of the allied meeting in the Spanish capital.
The so-called NATO Response Force is a highly prepared and technologically advanced multinational force made up of ground, air, sea and Special Operations Forces components that the Alliance can rapidly deploy wherever it is needed.
Currently, it has 40,000 troops that can be deployed in less than fifteen days.
The Madrid Agreement
At the Madrid summit, NATO leaders have given the green light to a complete review of the organization’s Response Force that would allow up to 300,000 soldiers to be deployed in thirty days anywhere in allied territory.
To do this, the organization’s Response Force will be divided into various levels or segments.
The first of them will be made up of more than 100,000 soldiers who can be deployed in a maximum period of up to ten days.
A second level will be made up of another 200,000 soldiers who may be on the ground in a period of between ten and thirty days.
That way, the 300,000 troops would be anywhere in the Alliance to deal with an emergency or threat within a month, tops.
The third and last level would involve the deployment of at least 500,000 soldiers in a period of between 30 and 180 days.
According to NATO, this new system will enable an Alliance response “on a much larger scale and with greater readiness than the current NATO Response Force, which it will replace.”
It will provide a larger pool of highly-ready forces across domains, including land, sea, air, and cyberspace.
Those forces will be pre-assigned to “specific plans” for the defense of allied countries, according to the transatlantic organization.
“It will enhance NATO’s ability to respond at very short notice to any contingency, and allow allies to safely make more forces available to NATO,” the Alliance underlines.
Aspects pending completion
The transition to the new force model is expected to be complete in 2023.
Despite leaders’ support for the initiative in Madrid, aspects such as its precise scale and composition have yet to be clarified.
“It requires, as always when you do things in NATO, that the allies provide the forces that they have promised to provide and live up to that decision. But, based on what we have done before, I am sure that this will also happen this time,” Allied Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.