Lt. Gen. Tim Radford, commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps officially takes the flag for the 2017 NATO Response Force Land Component Command from NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Spain, during a ceremony here, Jan. 11. Also changing hands was the helm of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Land) from Spain's 7th Spanish Infantry Brigade to the UK's 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade.
U.K. – Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps officially took over as the
Land Component Command of the 2017 NATO Response Force from NATO Rapid
Deployable Corps-Spain, during a Handover, Takeover ceremony here, Jan. 11.
Also changing hands was the helm of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task
Force (Land) from Spain's 7th Spanish Infantry Brigade to the UK's 20th
Armoured Infantry Brigade.
and enlisted leaders from across the UK and NATO force structures attended the
ceremony as well as The Right Honourable Earl Howe, Minister of State for
Defence for the UK.
"It’s a great honour for me to be here today,” said Lord Howe.
"Today’s ceremony represents NATO’s commitment to strengthening its collective
defence in the face of real and present danger.”
"In these uncertain times, this exchange represents far more
than a routine rotation of duty,” he added.
After the flags changed hands from the two Spanish units to
the UK NRF units, UK Lieutenant General Tim Radford, CB DSO OBE, commander HQ
ARRC, took to the podium to speak to his fellow commanders as well as
servicemen and women from across the ARRC about the road ahead.
a headquarters we are trained, well-prepared and ready to respond to the full
spectrum of potential missions on which we might be tasked,” he said. "There’s
no doubt that 2017 will be a significant year.”
is the first year in which the full enhanced NRF has been assigned, I want to
assure you therefore, that we’ll use our time wisely, testing readiness as well
as conducting significant concept development and experimentation,” he
will be done alongside and in conjunction with the other Land High Readiness
Forces, our joint headquarters for the stand-by year, Joint Force Command
Naples, as well as our sister components so that when we hand over to our
Italian counterparts in 2018, we will have driven the overall eNRF concept
forward and strengthened NATO’s position and capability,” he added.
Recognizing the ARRC’s busy schedule in 2016, participating
in several multi-national and NATO exercises preparing for their NRF role this
year, he also extended his thanks for their hard work and the work that is yet
thanks to the men and women of the headquarters, and their families who have
ensured that we are now in a position to pick up the mantle from the Spanish
Corps and serve NATO as part of the enhanced NATO Response Force,” he said.
UK commitment to NATO is seen in the ARRC’s mission and units on rotational
battle groups throughout the Baltics and Poland as part of the enhanced forward
presence. For such an occasion, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
also provided a statement on the importance of the ceremony today.
"Today, the United Kingdom takes command of the
NATO Response Force. These are NATO’s high readiness land, sea, air and Special
Forces capable of being deployed quickly to wherever they are needed,” said
Stoltenberg. "Today’s ceremony underlines the UK’s on-going commitment to the
North Atlantic Alliance.”
"Our ability to move with strength and speed
is vital in our more uncertain world,” he continued. "The United Kingdom
has always been central to the security of Europe.”
"I also thank Spain for their leadership of
the NRF for the last year. Their professionalism and dedication has been
exemplary,” said Stoltenberg.