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NATO Approves Revamp To Better Respond To Threats

NATO member states have agreed to increase the strength and capability of the alliance's rapid-response force.

Speaking after the first day of a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on June 24, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the ministers decided to increase the strength of the NATO Response Force from 13,000 to as many as 40,000.

Ministers also added air, sea, and special-forces units to the rapid-response force and approved a "new concept of advance planning" as well as measures to speed up NATO's political and military decision-making in order to "respond more rapidly and more effectively to threats."

Stoltenberg said the revamp was in large part caused by Russia's annexation of Crimea, its continued support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, its ability to quickly mobilize large numbers of troops, and its escalating rhetoric about the use of nuclear weapons.

"We stand united in the way we are facing the challenges we face," Stoltenberg said, adding that the alliance was not seeking "a new arms race."

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax