The 1st German/Netherlands Corps (1GNC) assumed the NATO Response Force (NRF) mission from the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy as the Land Component Command on Jan. 9, 2019. A special roll call at the Prinz Claus Barracks in Münster, Germany solidified the start of the NATO Headquarters’ standby mission.
Throughout the year on standby, 1GNC can be deployed to command land forces all over the world on short notice. "The NATO allies trust on the NATO response force as a vital element in our collective defence,” said Lt. Gen. Michiel van der Laan, Commander of 1GNC. "And we have proven to be ready for it.”
NATO Response Force
Launched in 2002, the NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced, multinational force made up of land, air, maritime, and Special Operations forces. It can be deployed quickly, wherever needed for the collective defence of NATO’s territory or other crisis-response operations. The NRF is based on a rotational system where allied nations commit units for a period of 12 months.
Very High Readiness Joint Task Force
In the ceremony, the command of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) was also transferred. In 2019, the unit will be based on the German 9th Panzerlehrbrigade. The Netherlands and Norway support the German contingent with capabilities such as aviation and mechanized infantry. France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania also provide forces.
NATO heads of state and governments agreed to create the VJTF at the Wales Summit in 2014 in response to a changed security environment. "Once activated, the VJTF, is available to move immediately to defend any ally against any threat,” said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu.
The 1GNC was part of the NRF on three occasions: 2005, 2008, and 2015. "We are again on standby, ready to be deployed wherever and whenever,” concluded Van der Laan.