NATO activates six headquarters in eastern Europe

Brussels, Sep 2 (IANS) NATO has activated six headquarters, called NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU) in eastern Europe, the security organisation said in a press release on Wednesday.

These headquarters, based in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, will ensure that NATO’s high-readiness forces can deploy to the region in a rapid manner and prepare for subsequent operations if required, Xinhua reported.

General Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said: “These units will be critical in facilitating the rapid deployment of Allied forces if required, supporting collective defence planning, and assisting in coordinating training and exercises.”

The units are part of NATO’s adaptation plans as the Alliance faces increased security challenges in the region.

They will work in conjunction with national officials to identify logistical networks, transportation nodes and support infrastructure to ensure NATO high-readiness forces can deploy to an assigned region as quickly as possible.

The NFIUs were small headquarters, not military bases, but they are part of the Readiness Action Plan, the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence since the end of the Cold War, according to NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.

Each NFIU will be manned by around 40 staff, half of them coming from the host nation.

The NFIUs are expected to be fully operational by the Warsaw Summit in the summer of 2016.

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