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NATO accepts Georgia's offer to join NATO Response Force

Friday, October 18
At his monthly press conference, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he expects Georgian troops to be available for NATO’s rapid-reaction force in 2015.

“Georgia has offered to join the Response Force in the future, and has been accepted. I therefore anticipate that Georgian troops would be made available for the force as of 2015,” Rasmussen said, adding that it would be the first time Georgia has joined NATO’s rapid-reaction team. He made the comment in his opening remarks when speaking about the alliance's cooperation with non-NATO member partner states.

Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania has confirmed that Georgia will join the NATO Response Force in 2015. "This fact is an affirmation and acknowledgment of the high level of preparedness and professionalism of the Georgian Armed Forces like other NATO member countries. It is very important as it will give the Georgian Armed Forces an opportunity to increase interoperability with other NATO member countries and become part of the NATO Response Force. The forces will be available for rapid deployment in any hot spot and will serve as a stabilization force and carry out other tasks assigned under the mission. Georgia's participation will be a significant step made by Georgia, as a future member state of NATO."

Next month, NATO will conduct a major exercise in Poland and the Baltic States. Rasmussen explained that its purpose is to make sure that the NRF, NATO’s rapid reaction force, is ready to defend any ally, deploy anywhere and deal with threats. Ukraine and Finland have also offered to join the exercise and have been accepted. “So they will train alongside us – and will then have met the requirements to deploy with next year’s NATO Response Force.”

NRF is a force of up to 25 000 troops for rapid deployment, used for collective defense, crisis management or stabilization, or as an initial entry force before primary deployment. Troops train together and then serve in NRF for six months, until they are replaced by a new force.

According to NATO’s official website, NRF is comprised of three parts: the command and control element from the NATO Command Structure; the Immediate Response Force, a joint force of about 13 000 high-readiness troops provided by NATO members; and a Response Forces Pool, which can supplement the Immediate Response Force when necessary.