Jun 27, 2022 - World

NATO to dramatically increase size of high-readiness forces

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he speaks during a press conference

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 27. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

NATO will dramatically increase the size of its high-readiness forces to "well over 300,000," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced at a press briefing Monday ahead of this week's NATO summit in Madrid.

Why it matters: The move, one of a number of steps NATO is taking to adapt to a "new security reality," helps constitute "the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War," Stoltenberg said.

The big picture: The NATO Response Force, which is designated for quick reactions to urgent situations, currently numbers roughly 40,000, Reuters reported.

  • "At the summit, we will strengthen our forward defenses. We will enhance our battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance up to brigade levels," Stoltenberg said, adding that to do so will require increased investment from NATO members.
  • "These troops will exercise together with home defense forces, and they will become familiar with local terrain facilities ... so that they can respond smoothly and swiftly to any emergency," he added.
  • Stoltenberg noted that he expects the upcoming NATO summit will see members clearly state "that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order."

Go deeper: Why NATO formed and why Finland and Sweden want to join the alliance

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