NATO’s military force structure
The national defense forces of NATO countries constitute NATO’s only real military resources. There are thus no “supranational” military units within NATO. However, headquarters installations and air surveillance plans (Awacs) and more are collectively owned by NATO, also known as North Atlantic Treaty Organization according to Abbreviationfinder.
NATO’s military alliance structures are today undergoing rapid transformation. The military units can be divided into different categories: task forces, stationary forces and deployed forces:
- The task forces are NATO’s forces for rapid response and must be able to be deployed in times of unrest or minor conflicts. They are therefore agile but well-armed. They also have a very short standby time.
- The stationary forces constitute the majority of the individual NATO countries’ own military defense forces, but they do not have to have the same standby time as the task forces. Their task is to defend the countries’ territories and to sometimes form reinforcement units for the task forces.
- Seconded multinational forces have been present in Poland and the Baltic states for some years now. The deterrent presence of these forces is directly subordinate to Saceur, but in order to be able to exercise collective defense under Saceur’s leadership, a decision by the North Atlantic Council is required.
NATO Response Force (NRF) is the largest task force. The force is led by Saceur, but in order for him to have a mandate to lead operations, a decision is required in the North Atlantic Council. The force was established in 2002 with several purposes. On the one hand, they wanted to set up a smaller but effective rapid reaction force with state-of-the-art equipment that could function as a “fire brigade force” in crisis hotspots, and on the other hand, give small countries ‘defense forces the opportunity to cooperate with large countries’ troops. A small country like Estonia may not be able to afford to equip its entire defense force with advanced weapons at American level, but a company (about 200 soldiers) with such equipment can be paid for. When this co-operates within the NRF, Estonia will play a role among even the largest countries’ military units and take these experiences home. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 prompted NATO to significantly raise its ambitions in terms of rapid reaction forces. At the Wales Summit in autumn 2014, Member States decided on a whole package of new measures,Readiness action plan (RAP), with the aim of securing the small and geopolitically exposed countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Among these measures were a tripling of the NRF to about 40,000 men, as well as the creation of another rapid reaction force, the Very High Readiness Task Force, of brigade size (about 5,000 men) with 48 hours of standby time.
In the three Baltic states and in Poland, there are multinational battalion battle groups, Enhanced forward presence, with rotating forces from different countries. Each is led by a rhetoric which in Estonia consists of Great Britain, in Latvia of Canada, in Lithuania of Germany and in Poland of the United States. At the same time, smaller staff units within the framework of NATO’s force structure in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria have been set up. These so-called force integration units, NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU), act as a kind of liaison center between the Allied troops and each country’s own defense force.
Within NATO, in addition to the civilian and military headquarters and command staff, there are more than 40 different institutions and organizations for various issues. These include logistics issues, ie the transport and care of troops as well as the production, transport and maintenance of food and military equipment. Some collaboration also takes place on the purchase and production of military equipment. Nationally responsible officials meet through a special conference, the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD), to agree on recommendations for the type of defense equipment that countries should purchase. The CNAD also seeks to standardize munitions and communications equipment, which is essential for NATO’s capabilities to function in crises and wars.
Independent coordinating body
The North Atlantic Assembly (NAA) is an assembly consisting of 118 parliamentarians from NATO member countries. The members of the Assembly are appointed by the national parliaments. Formally, the NAA is completely independent of the alliance. The Church’s goal is to promote co – operation between the Allied countries and to work independently for the purposes of the Atlantic Treaty. Its recommendations and resolutions on various issues are passed on to governments, national parliaments and to NATO Secretary-General. The NAA’s meetings are also attended by observers from countries outside NATO, including Sweden.
A single organization, the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), was formed in 1954 to support the Atlantic Treaty. ATA deals with information and research on NATO’s activities. Today, ATA’s local branches are also located in countries that are not affiliated with NATO.