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NATO to increase quick-response troops and arms

June 2, 2018

There are plans to more than double the number of troops in the NATO Response Force and to further invest in upgrading arms, German media reported. Germany is said to be taking a leading role in the developments.

German soldiers walk over tarmac away from a transport plane
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Malukas

NATO is planning to improve its readiness and continue to upgrade its arms to be better able to respond to an emergency, according to information gathered by the German weekly, Welt am Sonntag.

The alliance is planning to establish a pool of around 30,000 soldiers who could be operational within 30 days. They would be armed with several hundred fighter jets and ships, according to high ranking NATO diplomats cited by the paper. The new troops would be in addition to the already established NATO Response Force (NRF), which has around 20,000 soldiers.

The initiative behind the new response force is believed to have come from the United States in recent months. According to Welt am Sonntag, Germany is expected to play a leading role in these developments.

"We must become faster and be able to move a large number of soldiers and equipment quickly in order to credibly deter and show a willingness to defend," said a NATO official. In order to facilitate this, it is said that infrastructure improvements, as well as fewer administrative hurdles and accelerated political decision-making are needed.

Read more: EU-NATO hybrid threat center launched in Finland

NATO defense ministers will be meeting to discuss these plans in Brussels next week. The paper reported that heads of state and government representatives from NATO member states are expected to adopt a corresponding political declaration at the summit meeting in mid-July.

cl/sms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)