During the year 2017, 2 thousand Polish soldiers will become a part of the NATO Response Force. Some of them will also be involved in the VJTF component, so called “Spearhead”.
The plan of involvement of the Polish units in the NATO response force is a confidential document, thus we cannot refer to your questions within the scope expected by you. Nonetheless we may tell you that throughout the year 2017, 2000 soldiers are going to declared to be a part of the NRF (also within the framework of VJTF). The component will include the troops of the mechanized and armoured units, Navy, ABC protection units, special forces and other elements.
According to the statement we have received from the spokesman for the Polish General Command of the Armed Forces, throughout the year 2017, around 2 thousand soldiers of all branches of the Army will be tasked with becoming a part of the NATO Response Force component. Next year, the NRF is going to involve around 40 thousand troops, some of whom will become a part of the so called “Spearhead”, also known as VJTF (Very high readiness Joint Task Force).
Lt. Col. Szczepan Głuszczak did not disclose the information as to how many soldiers and what units would become a part of the NATO VJTF. The British Army has revealed, in its announcement describing the VJTF Venerable Gauntlet exercise, integrating the component before the year 2017, that Poland would deploy a mechanized combat group, while the exercise itself involved a mechanized battalion.
The available information, including the release published by the Polish General Command of the Armed Forces, regarding the involvement of the Polish soldiers in the Noble Ledger certifying exercise, suggests that the Polish Combat Group would involve the 10th Dragoons Mechanized Battalion (listed as the one involved in the VJTF operations), being a part of the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade based in Świętoszów. BMP-1 is the core armament of that unit and this type of vehicles was also involved in the Venerable Gauntlet operation.
The core of the VJTF task force during the next year is going to be formed by the British troops hailing from the 20th Mechanized Infantry Brigade (command and a heavy battalion). Alongside the aforesaid unit, a British light infantry group, artillery, engineering or air defence units, army aviation units, communication units and military police, would also form the aforesaid task group.
The land component of the VJTF will involve around 5000 soldiers, divided into five battalions, supported by the air force, special forces, navy, ready to rapidly react, should a threat emerge for any of the NATO member states. Deployment of the said rapid reaction force into the conflict region may act as an effective deterrent. The information published by the British Army suggests that besides the Polish and British units, VJTF will be formed by: Albanians, Czechs, Danes (battalion mechanized combat group with reconnaissance and CIMIC elements), Spanish units (infantry combat group and an artillery battery, mechanized company and engineering company), Croats, Lithuanians, Latvians, Romanians and the Americans.
Most probably, next year, NATO Response Force would involve the Polish units that formed the VJTF elements this year, besides the Świętoszów-based 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade. These units include the elements of the 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade utilizing mainly the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks. Moreover, a logistics company detached from the 10th Logistics Brigade, securing the operations of the Brodnica-based 4th Chemical Regiment, has also been involved in the operations of the NRF during the year 2016.
The quantitative shape of the NRF has been expanded, up to 40 thousand soldiers, from the level of 13 thousand, on the basis of the provisions implemented after the NATO Summit in Wales. The land component is formed by multinational brigades, one of which, the VJTF, must attain full readiness for deployment in 5 to 7 days. Besides that, the component also, usually, involves the brigade which formed the “Spearhead” in the preceding year (30 days to attain full readiness) and the brigade which would attain the highest level of combat readiness next year - with 45 days defined as the corresponding period required to be deployed. Noteworthy, elements of the VJTF element have been operating in Poland back in 2015 and in 2016, within the framework of the Noble Jump and Brilliant Jump training exercises.
Before that, only a single land forces brigade had formed the core component of the NRF. NATO Response Force, is a NATO unit shich is the first to respond to the threat, it is a unit which receives multi-faceted support from the Air Forces, Navies and Special Operations components. Following the Warsaw Summit, NATO is also taking a greater care of readiness of its main force.