WORLD NEWS #SPAIN : Lt. Gen. Tim Radford, commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps officially takes the flag for the 2017 NATO Response Force Land Component Command from NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Spain, during a ceremony here, Jan. 11. Also changing hands was the helm of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Land) from Spain’s 7th Spanish Infantry Brigade to the UK’s 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade.
11 JAN 2017
INNSWORTH, U.K. – Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps officially took over as the Land Component Command of the 2017 NATO Response Force from NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Spain, during a Handover, Takeover ceremony here, Jan. 11. Also changing hands was the helm of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Land) from Spain’s 7th Spanish Infantry Brigade to the UK’s 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade.
Commanders and enlisted leaders from across the UK and NATO force structures attended the ceremony as well as The Right Honourable Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence for the UK.
“It’s a great honour for me to be here today,” said Lord Howe. “Today’s ceremony represents NATO’s commitment to strengthening its collective defence in the face of real and present danger.”
“In these uncertain times, this exchange represents far more than a routine rotation of duty,” he added.
After the flags changed hands from the two Spanish units to the UK NRF units, UK Lieutenant General Tim Radford, CB DSO OBE, commander HQ ARRC, took to the podium to speak to his fellow commanders as well as servicemen and women from across the ARRC about the road ahead.
“As a headquarters we are trained, well-prepared and ready to respond to the full spectrum of potential missions on which we might be tasked,” he said. “There’s no doubt that 2017 will be a significant year.”
“This is the first year in which the full enhanced NRF has been assigned, I want to assure you therefore, that we’ll use our time wisely, testing readiness as well as conducting significant concept development and experimentation,” he continued.
This will be done alongside and in conjunction with the other Land High Readiness Forces, our joint headquarters for the stand-by year, Joint Force Command Naples, as well as our sister components so that when we hand over to our Italian counterparts in 2018, we will have driven the overall eNRF concept forward and strengthened NATO’s position and capability,” he added.
Recognizing the ARRC’s busy schedule in 2016, participating in several multi-national and NATO exercises preparing for their NRF role this year, he also extended his thanks for their hard work and the work that is yet to come.
“My thanks to the men and women of the headquarters, and their families who have ensured that we are now in a position to pick up the mantle from the Spanish Corps and serve NATO as part of the enhanced NATO Response Force,” he said.
The UK commitment to NATO is seen in the ARRC’s mission and units on rotational battle groups throughout the Baltics and Poland as part of the enhanced forward presence. For such an occasion, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also provided a statement on the importance of the ceremony today.
“Today, the United Kingdom takes command of the NATO Response Force. These are NATO’s high readiness land, sea, air and Special Forces capable of being deployed quickly to wherever they are needed,” said Stoltenberg. “Today’s ceremony underlines the UK’s on-going commitment to the North Atlantic Alliance.”
“Our ability to move with strength and speed is vital in our more uncertain world,” he continued. “The United Kingdom has always been central to the security of Europe.”
“I also thank Spain for their leadership of the NRF for the last year. Their professionalism and dedication has been exemplary,” said Stoltenberg.
British News Agency Registration Number 09193491 SIC Code and Operations: 63910 – News agency activities / NATO By L. J. De Rothschild Senior Editor