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Members of Algirdas Battalion are ready to take up duty in the NATO Response Force next year



From October 24 to 28 troops of the IIIrd Mechanised Infantry Company of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion took part in evaluation field exercise „Rapid Response2010/1". The event concluded training period for duty in NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2011.


Members of the IIIrd Company will act as personnel of one of guard companies in NRF. Units that will be joined with guard company during standby also took part in the exercise: military medics will form medical evacuation unit, repair specialists - repair unit. The total of 250 specialists of various sectors participated in the exercise.


The exercise trained a wide spectrum of military operations in three phases: in the first stage of preparation for warfare actions abilities of troops to prepare for march quickly and reasonably, as well as to face its dangers: direct and indirect fire, air assaults, ambush, actions in mined road strip.


During the following stage, mounted march, commanders' and their personnel's ability to act in various situations, and evacuation of the injured from military transport was evaluated.


In the third phase troops implemented a complex operation - guard and defence of a designated quarters. Direct tasks of the force guard companies in the upcoming duty period will mostly be related to provision of security to the Staff Element of the Joint Forces Headquarters. Successful completion of the task requires every participant to show good individual skills and team-work abilities, and relevant readiness level of the entire unit.


In the final stage participants of the training carried out a simulated security operation of bringing stability in a region. After this phase evaluating staff of the Lithuanian Land Force's Staff and the Motorised Infantry Brigade certified the Lithuanian Military Contingent ready for standby in NRF.

In 2011 Lithuania foresees deploying to NRF an around 120-strong force guard company based on the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion. The unit will maintain standby throughout the following year in its permanent base. In case of activation of NRF, the Lithuanian force guard company would join multinational operation in composition of Land Component and would be in charge of protection of the Joint Forces Headquarters.


Algirdas Battalion has already provided personnel for duty in NRF in the first half of this year together with Estonian and Latvian troops. Lithuania led the trilateral Baltic Battalion (BALTBAT) conducting duty in NRF. Over 600 troops in the total Battalion's strength of 800 were delegated by Lithuania.


The decision to form NATO Response Forces was adopted in the Prague Summit in 2002. Development of the NRF concept began in 2003 and in 2005 it reached its initial operating capability. Generation of the NATO Response Force was the first step towards building a new NATO capable of effective and timely response to all types of threats. NRF combines integrated and fully inoperable land, air, naval and special operations capabilities led by a joint military command. The force is capable of deployment to any location across the globe in a short time to defend collective security of the Alliance if a need arises. NRF is designated to carry out the full spectrum of missions from high-intensity warfare actions in hostile territory, counterterrorism, and crisis management to humanitarian and evacuation of people tasks. NRF does not replace other NATO's operational forces but because of its high-readiness level (deployable within 5-30 days to the operation theatre) NRF is capable of being the first force on the ground and sustaining itself until replacement NATO forces arrive.


WO Irmantas Kovalenko
Pictures by Maj Mindaugas Petkevičius and WO Irmantas Kovalenko

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