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Monday, 10.03.2014, 15:17
Lithuanian contingent began standby in NATO Response Force
On January 1, 2013, an approximately 200-strong Lithuanian contingent began standby in the NATO Response Force (NRF). Lithuanian service members were delegated by the Lithuanian Air Force, Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion, Lithuanian Special Operations Forces and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion, reports LETA/ELTA Ministry of National Defence.
An Airport Terminal Maintenance Unit formed by the Lithuanian Air Force will conduct standby in the NATO Response Force for a third time. This year the Lithuanian Air Force have committed its C-27J Spartan transport aircraft to the all-year round readiness NATO Response Force. Previously service members of the Lithuanian Air Force were assigned to complete duty in NRF in the second semester of 2008 and in 2011.
In case of deployment of the NATO Response Force into an operation theatre, the 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company of Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion composed of two sections and a command group will be ready for duty. If such a necessity occurred, EOD specialists would carry out standard explosive and IED neutralisation operations, reconnaissance and clearance of explosives in a contaminated area. In the past Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion provided General Engineer and Explosives Ordnance Disposal platoons for NRF.
The Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion will also commit its 2nd Company for the year-long standby in NRF in 2013 which will act as a Force Protection Company in case the NATO Response Force is activated.
The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational NATO force, one of the core combat instruments of the Alliance. The NRF is made up of military units which are committed by allies and maintain high readiness in their home countries for a set period of time prepared to deploy into an operation theatre in case a decision to activate the NRF was made. Once the decision is made, the NRF is capable of deploying within five days.
The NATO Response Force initiative was announced at the Prague Summit in November 2002. The decision to use the NRF is made by the North Atlantic Council. From October 2005 to February 2006, elements of the NATO Response Force were used for the first time in Pakistan after a devastating earthquake. Then Lithuania contributed a Water Purification Unit to the humanitarian effort operation.