They take over for the Münster, Germany based 1st German-Netherlands Corps (1GNC) who had the mission for all of 2019.
Eurocorps assumes this responsibility for the third time with their first two rotations as the stand-by unit occurring in 2006 and 2009 respectively. NATO Allied Land Command Commander, U.S. Army Lieutenant General J.T. Thomson, presided over the hand over ceremony held on Eurocorps’ Strasbourg headquarters parade grounds.
“Lieutenant General Kolodziej and Eurocorps are exactly the right team to assume the NRF  Land Component Command mission,” said Lieutenant General Thomson. “They have skillfully prepared for the stand-by role over the past year as the stand-up Corps headquarters.”
During the ceremony 1GNC transitioned from the role as the ready stand-by force – the NATO land headquarters on call to respond on short notice to a crisis, contingency, or operation – to the role of the trained stand-down force.
“We thank all the men and women of 1st German-Netherlands Corps for their incredible competence, dedication and teamwork. They advanced the NRF mission to the next level, and we are fortunate to maintain them in the stand-down role for the coming year,” said Thomson.
Lieutenant General Kolodziej and Eurocorps are exactly the right team to assume the NRF  Land Component Command mission
The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly to wherever it is needed. Its mission is to provide a rapid demonstration of force and the early establishment of NATO military presence in support of an Article 5 or Crisis Response Operation and to be a catalyst for transformation of capabilities in the Alliance.
French Army Lieutenant General Laurent Kolodziej, Eurocorps Commander, affirmed the readiness of his Corps Headquarters.
“Eurocorps, an outfit formed by 10 nations, is aided in its mission by its multinational scope and extensive experience gained in just about every major operation under NATO or European Union command,” said Kolodziej via a press statement. Assumption of the NRF mission means Eurocorps could potentially lead up to 65,000 ground troops in a high-intensity warfare, he said.
LANDCOM declared Eurocorps ready for the NRF following completion of the final phases of their rigorous Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) during Exercise Trident Jupiter 19 in November at the NATO Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway. LANDCOM, as NATO’s advocate for land domain expertise, is responsible for ensuring land domain readiness, interoperability, standardization, and competency across Allied land forces.
The NRF was established in 2002 to provide the Alliance with an immediate and credible response capability for the range of military operations. Though it has evolved over the past 17 years, readiness remains at its core. The decision to use the NRF requires political consensus taken on a case-by-case basis by the North Atlantic Council.
In pre-ceremony briefings to Eurocorps, 1GNC Commander, German Army Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, reflected on the responsibility that comes as the NATO stand-by land component.
“When you take over this mission you look at the daily news differently,” he said. He expanded by stating people can simply look at what’s happening in the world right now to understand the gravity of this critical NATO mission.
Lieutenant General Thomson emphasized the importance of readiness for NATO forces in collective defence.
“History teaches us that weakness invites aggression. Given today’s threats in an era of great power competition, it is incumbent on land forces to be ready and strong,” he said.
The Eurocorps Commander recognized his Corps’ importance to NATO and the defence of Europe as a whole.
“We…stand as a reminder of the mutual complementary nature of NATO and European defence, in the best sense of the term,” Kolodziej said.