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The NATO Response Force (NRF) will be a coherent, high readiness, joint, multinational force package, technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable.

It will be tailored as required to the needs of a specific operation and able to move quickly to wherever needed. It will not be a permanent or standing force. The NRF will be able to carry out certain missions on its own, or serve as part of a larger force to contribute to the full range of Alliance military operations. The NRF can sustain itself for duration of up to one month or longer if re-supplied. Its precise size and composition is under study and will be the subject of further definition and refinement, up to its full operational capability.
The NRF will be comprised of national force contributions, which will rotate through periods of training and certification as a joint force, followed by an operational "stand by" phase of six months. Allied Command Operations (ACO) will generate the NRF through force generation conferences. ACO will be responsible for certification of forces and headquarters. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) will develop future capabilities and further refine the NRF concept based on joint lessons learned.
But the NRF will also be a key catalyst for focussing on and promoting improvements of Alliance military capabilities, in very close relationship with the national and multinational elements of the “Prague Capabilities Commitment” and NATO force planning overall. It will thus form an essential element of the Alliance’s transformation agenda. Moreover, all Allies see the NRF and the European Union’s Headline Goal Force as fully compatible and mutually reinforcing initiatives.
What Missions?


In practice, the tasks of the NRF are likely to focus on those requiring the ability to react with the most capable forces in a very short time.

These might include deployment as a show of force and solidarity to deter aggression; deployment as a stand-alone force for Article 5 (collective defence) or non-Article 5 (crisis management, stabilisation) operations; and deployment as an initial entry force for a larger force.

NRF Origins and Deadlines

On 8-9 October, in Colorado Springs (United States), NATO Defence Ministers will review the ongoing implementation of the comprehensive concept for the NRF. This concept, based on the decision taken by Heads of State and Government at the November 2002 Prague Summit to establish a NRF, was approved by Defence Ministers last June in Brussels.

The Prague Summit agreed that the NRF would reach its initial operational capability as soon as possible but not later than October 2004, and its full operational capability not later than October 2006. Based on these directives, Defence Ministers last June tasked the NATO Military Authorities (NMAs) to establish the NRF. Thanks to a very intense and expeditious engagement of Allied nations the NMAs are working towards the activation of a first “prototype” NRF on 15 October this year. This will enable the Alliance to continue to define requirements and develop NRF procedures