Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Multinational Corps Northeast
March 21, 2023

NATO Force Integration Unit Latvia provides hands-on expertise for Very High Readiness Joint Task Force

On March 13-17, more than 40 representatives from Very High Readiness Joint Task Force’s (VJTF) land component for 2023, Multinational Division North and other entities visited different sites in Latvia. Facilitated by NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) Latvia, this field visit aimed to broaden the practical knowledge of the Reception, Staging and Onward Movement (RSOM) process in the country and to adjust deployment plans to the region.

Consisting of units at the highest level of readiness, VJTF is the spearhead of the NATO Response Force (NRF) structure. In 2023, the VJTF land forces are led by Germany, i.e. the 37th Mechanised Infantry Brigade (Panzergrenadierbrigade 37), and comprise around 11,500 troops from 9 NATO Allies: Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia.

In Latvia, the VJTF (L) delegation was helmed by the Commander, German Army Brigadier General Alexander Krone and the Deputy Commander, Royal Netherlands Army Colonel Tjeerd Blankestijn. During the tour, the participants visited the key reception and staging places, such as Lielvārde Air Base and Liepāja Port, and met with Latvian and Allied counterparts to analyse the challenges of the force deployment into the region….

In a short time, several thousand troops and military equipment have to be deployed, received and moved forward to their final destinations….

Since the establishment in 2015, NFIU Latvia has worked closely with NATO’s high readiness forces and the Host Nation to facilitate the rapid and smooth arrival of forces and equipment. This time was not an exemption as NFIU Latvia took the initiative and together with representatives from Multinational Division North and the Latvian Armed Forces prepared and executed the recce around Latvia to provide detailed insight into the infrastructure and logistics of the Host Nation.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Small, Branch Chief Operations and Plans NFIU Latvia, added: “The deployment of the VJTF land component into Latvia would be a huge undertaking, which is why it is important to understand every aspect of this operation beforehand….”

Photos: NATO. Decal on arm of female on lower left is the German flag.