Defence Notes

Poland takes over NATO VJTF lead

13th January 2020 - 11:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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On 1 January 2020 the Polish Army took over the lead of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) from Germany.

The core of the VJTF in 2020 will be Poland’s 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade, supported by units from Poland’s 12th Mechanized Division, the 3rd Transport Aviation Wing, Military Police, as well as logistics and Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear specialists.

Around 6,000 soldiers will serve on the Spearhead Force, including around 3,000 from Poland. Units from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Turkey and the UK will also serve on the force, with the US ready to provide airpower and other combat support.

As part of the NATO’s 40,000-strong NATO Response Force, the VJTF is made up of land, air, maritime and special forces. Exercise Trident Jupiter 19, which took place in November 2019, certified the forces and commands for the 2020 NATO Response Force.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said: ‘I thank Poland for leading NATO’s high readiness forces this year. The VJTF, our Spearhead Force, is a substantial contribution to our collective defence and a strong display of Poland’s capabilities.

‘This force is available to move immediately to defend any Ally against any threat. At a time of unprecedented security challenges, it is more important than ever.’  

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