World

NATO Response Forces 'On Track To Launch', Secretary General Says

The 'Four Thirties' will be a rapid reaction force ready to deploy within 30 days.

Troops on Exercise Swift Response (Picture: MOD).

NATO is ready to launch its 'Four Thirties' readiness initiative by the end of the year to counter new modern threats, says NATO's Secretary General.

The pledge is to have 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat ships ready to deploy within 30 days.

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press briefing on Tuesday this was a "very important element in our response to an unpredictable world".

It follows new challenges and threats, including "a more assertive Russia", said Mr Stoltenberg:

"To create the culture of readiness, to have forces available on short notice to be able to reinforce, to support any part of the alliance, when or if needed."

He said they are "on track to meet the pledge" by the end of the year if not the beginning of next year at the latest.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt also set out Britain’s offering:

"Over land sea and air at the heart of which will be the Queen Elizabeth class carriers and the F-35s."

The forces will be able to respond to threats coming from any direction and will further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence posture.

Allies from NATO's 29 members states are expected to contribute to the response force, depending on their size.

As it stands there are still some "gaps" in the response force, meaning more allies need to contribute further.

But NATO's Secretary General says despite that, they are still expected to "fill those gaps by the end of the year".