France leads top NATO response force this year


The highest ready element of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), its very high readiness joint task force (VJTF), is this year led by France.

The VJTF was created in 2014 in response to crises in the Middle East and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and is permanently available to move within days to defend any ally. It is the sharp end of NATO’s 40 000-strong response force.

This year the VJTF will comprise a several thousand strong multinational force. The Franco-German brigade of 3 500 troops will serve as its core, drawing on the 1st Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Hussar Regiment. Led by France’s Rapid Reaction Corps in Lille, the Franco-German brigade is a bi-national unit, underlining the bond between NATO allies Germany and France. Other NATO countries including Spain, Portugal and Poland will provide forces. The majority of the force is comprised of units from the lead brigade.

“I thank France for leading NATO’s rapid reaction force in 202. The VJTF is a substantial contribution to our collective defence and France’s leadership is a strong display of commitment and capabilities. At a time of unprecedented security challenges there must be no misunderstanding about NATO resolve: we stand together to defend and protect all allies,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Leadership of the VJTF, which places soldiers on high readiness status and ready to deploy in days, rotates annually among NATO allies. France takes over from Turkey, which led the force in 2021. Germany will lead the unit in 2023. NATO’s joint force command in Brunssum, The Netherlands, holds command for the entire NATO response force this year.