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High Readiness Land HQ assumes Land Component Command of NATO Response Force

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Number: 4809

The Spanish High Readiness Land Headquarters, known as HQ NRDC-ESP, assumed Land Component Command of the NATO Response Force (NRF) on 12 January for the whole of 2016.

The handover ceremony included a military parade during which Lieutenant General Rafael Comas Abad, head of HQ NRDC-ESP, received the official NRF standard from Lieutenant General Volker Halbauer, head of the German-Dutch Army Corps which commanded the Force in 2015.

The ceremony was presided over by US Lieutenant General John W. Nicholson, head of NATO Land Command, and was attended by civilian and military authorities from Valencia – including the president of the Generalitat Valenciana (the regional government), the representative of the central government, the Chief of the Joint Staff, the Deputy Chief of Staff and the mayor of Bétera –, as well as representatives of several Allied nations.

The Bétera-based HQ NRDC-ESP was assessed for this task during exercise “Trident Juncture”, which took place in Zaragoza last autumn. It was subsequently certified as compliant with all the evaluation criteria demanded by the Alliance to command the land forces of the new NRF, set up in the framework of the Readiness Action Plan approved at the Wales Summit in September 2014.

This year the NRF will increase its personnel, reaching 15,000 in its Land Component Command, and will improve its reaction time as a result of the creation of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The HQ in Bétera is the first High Readiness HQ of the NATO Force Structure certified to command a VJTF. The first VJTF will be made up of troops from the 7th Brigade “Galicia” together with several battalions from Allied nations.

Lieutenant General Comas receiving the standard

Lieutenant General Comas receiving the standard (Photo: HQ NRDC-ESP)