The UK will lead NATO’s rapid reaction force in 2024

From 1 January the UK takes over the lead of NATO’s VJTF, which consists of 6,000 troops with the 7th Light Mechanized Brigade Battle Group as its core.

The United Kingdom’s Allied Rapid Response Corps will serve as the command of the land division.

Under an annual rotating leadership, the UK has taken over command from Germany, which led the VJTF troop deployment in Kosovo in 2023 as part of a peacekeeping mission.

Following the Integrated Review Refresh in 2023, the publication of the UK’s central strategic document which sets out priorities and assessments for how it structures and directs its defense efforts, the UK highlighted its contribution to NATO and highlighted the threat of Russia for British interests at home and abroad.

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From GlobalData

“The UK is at the heart of NATO,” UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in the UK MoD’s announcement of the transfer of leadership of the VJTF. “By leading NATO’s Joint Very High Readiness Task Force in 2024, we are taking another leadership position in the Alliance, sending a clear message that Britain is stepping up our global defense commitments as NATO enters its 75th year.”

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The VJTF was created after Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 as the highest readiness element of the largest NATO Response Force (NRF) of 9 NATO Allies – Albania, Hungary, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom – which also contribute to air, sea and special operations forces.

The NATO Response Force will transition to the new Allied Response Force in mid-2024.

The 7th Light Mechanized Brigade Combat Team at the core of the VJTF consists of one light cavalry regiment, as well as four light mechanized infantry battalions supported by artillery, engineering, logistics and medical regiments. Notable elements from the British Army include the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the 4th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of England.

The UK’s existing NATO commitments in the region include Operation Carbit, a brigade of 1,000 troops in Estonia as part of the enhanced Forward Presence mission. The UK also supports a Reconnaissance Squadron in a US-led NATO battlegroup in Poland and the Sky Saber ground air defense system that protects Polish airspace.

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