The UK contribution to the NATO Readiness Initiative includes a UK-led brigade and a UK Carrier Strike Group.

At the first NATO Defence Ministers meeting of 2020, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace used the occasion to reassure NATO’s European members that the United Kingdom remains a key element of broader European security.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the initiative last year:

“We will also agree a NATO Readiness Initiative – the ‘Four Thirties’ – to ensure that by 2020, we have 30 mechanised battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels, ready within 30 days or less.”

On February the 12th, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the multiple contributions that the UK plans to make toward the NATO Readiness Initiative, with the most significant involving his signature on a Readiness Declaration that committed the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“A Global Britain will continue to play a leading role in NATO, working with multiple Allies and contributing a range of capabilities, cementing the UK as a Tier 1 military power. That was clearly demonstrated today with the declaration that the Joint Expeditionary Force will contribute to the NATO Readiness Initiative. including through a UK-led land brigade and the UK Carrier Strike Group.”

According to a Government news release:

“The JEF is a partnership of like-minded nations that provides a high-readiness force of over 10,000 personnel. It is committed to supporting global and regional peace, stability and security either on its own or through multinational institutions such as NATO. Made up of northern European nations, the JEF’s prime interest is in Euro-Atlantic security with efforts focused on but not limited to the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic regions where it can complement the NATO deterrence efforts in the region. The signing of a joint declaration to make a substantial commitment to the NATO Readiness Initiative recognises this and the Readiness Initiative’s future contribution to European peace and security.

The Defence Secretary also announced that the UK would deploy four RAF Typhoon jets to Šiauliai Air Base this summer where they will contribute to the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. Alongside fast jets from Spain, the RAF quick reaction alert pilots will patrol Baltic skies, deter threats and intercept any incursions into NATO airspace. This follows the UK’s previous deployments on NATO Baltic Air Policing in Estonia and on NATO Southern Air Policing in Romania.

In working sessions with fellow Defence Ministers, the Defence Secretary discussed a range of issues affecting NATO including the future of NATO’s Mission in Iraq as well as the role the Alliance can play in the wider Middle East. The UK agrees with the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that NATO could contribute even more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism.”

In the news release Wallace also announced that four Typhoons will deploy to Lithuania as part of the NATO Air Policing mission.

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Peter E
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Peter E

“UK led Brigade” = we can’t now deploy a whole brigade of our own. What a clusterfuck.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Course we can.

I’m interested in what Brigade he is referring to though. The JEF usually works with our Baltic and Northern European partners, so I’m hoping this Brigade is formed around 3 Cdo Bde.

Dern
Guest
Dern

Probably not, 3CMDO is going away quietly. Hopefully the army can recover its assets and make a LI brigade useful instead.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Absolutely. However, I fear we end up with 24RE and 29 RA cut instead.

Levi Goldsteinberg
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Levi Goldsteinberg

“to ensure that by 2020, we have 30 mechanised battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels”

Is that 30 (x) NATO assets or 30 British assets? If he’s implying they’re British assets then he’s on crazy pills

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

NATO mate. Read that stuff before.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

he’s paid to come out with the pre written stories a carrier group should be made up of what the carrier would deploy with or its a waste of an opportunity for the group to be established and to operate as a cohesive force

Geoffrey Roach
Guest
Geoffrey Roach

Hi LG It is actually do-able, amazingly enough. Battalions, squadrons and ships are all there, along as you don’t look too closely at what they can achieve !

Geoffrey Roach
Guest
Geoffrey Roach

should read as long, not along…..sorry

Dave
Guest
Dave

It’s the total NATO commitment not just UK.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Er What? Ok so I’m going back some time when I was in the Army late 70s mid 80s. I was in 28 Br Signal Regt NORTHAG 2 ATAF. We were at 30 minutes notice 24 hours a day. We did not come under British Command but NATO Command. Our equipement was checked counter checked and rechecked. If it did not work it was stripped down, well at least mine was, fixed and ready to go. The linesmen hated me, bad connectors strip it down and put on new ones, the REME hated me the wrong oil for winter conditions… Read more »

andy
Guest
andy

i have to agree,spent most of my time in Paderborn on standby..even after the Berlin wall came down

Ron
Guest
Ron

I take it the you were one of the tankys and old school. I was watching the tv the other day and saw some squadies helping with flood defences, the word shock comes to mind. Their comabat dress, if I turned up like they were I would be on ROPs, mine were always flat pressed,my guard combats were tailored (to much Harrogate boys school and Irish Guards RSM), 58 belt, if the RSM was really in a bad mood it was white 37 belt ouch brasso and scrubing come to mind, tucked jacket, putteys, gummie band and fish weights to… Read more »

andy
Guest
andy

i was infantry started off with the old stinky 432,s until they were replaced with warrior..as for uniform i fully know where your coming from,we were lucky and spoilt as we had 3 pairs bulled best boots for your no2,s camp boots always polished and kept clean..and the 3rd pair for exercise,you kept them cleaned and polished but if the leather got scuffed or damaged a little bit,then it did not matter as they were for exercise,all to do with keeping costs down,rather than changing a pair of boots that may have a gouge out of them..rifles were never more… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

I do, painted the grass green in Harrogate when HRH Princess Anne big boss of Harrogate came visiting, we even had to make sound proof toilets.
As for boots we had the normal two pairs of DMS and we had to buy a pair of Ammo’s for parade, bees wax, how the hell we never set the barrack room on fire with the waxed floor and setting light to our bees wax or kiwi, and don’t forget the old spice in the water. Health and safety would have a fit.
I suppose only us old coggers know of that stuff

andy
Guest
andy

that’s why the next major war they will have to call up us old lot because today’s youths won,t know how to cope

Ron
Guest
Ron

No been there done that got the T shirt and some other stuff for the extra fun. I’d rather sit down with a Herfy and watch Tom and Jerry. Leave it to the youngsters, then again if I could go back to Harrogate and do my two and a half year apprenticeship again I would go tomorrow. Now I just spend my time writing aritcles on history and teaching as a master diver. Then when I think about it, it did me no harm, coming up to 60 I am still probably fitter than many 30 year olds, the old… Read more »

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

But how many rounds did you get down range every year….

I’d wager that it wasn’t a quarter of what they do today.

andy
Guest
andy

i know we used to get through a lot as we were always on the ranges at sennelager,or Batus which was great, 6 weeks in Canadian heat,apart from the very last med man 7 which our battalion did before the MOD scrapped it due to a lot of injuries and vehicle damage

Ron
Guest
Ron

Wrong issue with me, captain of the shooting team, I was on the range every day, well if I was not off playing rugby, fencing and or deployed. Barrack room rest, god my OC never saw me for months because I was of somewhere either representing the Corp or Regt or being bloody shot at, or being in countries where officially we were not there. Not even the CO knew sometimes where I was. Talk about ‘Mission Impossible’ ‘if you get caught we don’t know you’ been there done that, the T shirt is still not allowed. The only diffrence… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Don’t worry, today’s youths have done fucking well in Iraq, Afghan, Somalia, Syria, and numerous other shitholes aroind the world. My lads were some of the best and I was, and still am, always amazed how big their bollocks could be in a contact!

Luke
Guest
Luke

So I take it the way you are talking you have actual combat tours under your belt?
Plenty of contacts?

Dern
Guest
Dern

The difference between a barracks army that has little to do besides spit polish boots, and a hardened combat army deployed around the globe on operations old chum.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Very true, even the government’s own security analysis has Russia conducting short notice, limited land grabs that they then consolidate and make it impossible to claw back without pusing to the verge of nuclear. 30 days doesn’t come close to preventing that from happening…
You silver lining is a good one though, glad about that. My only concern is tying the CSG to a north Atlantic NATO security mission may limit our activities elsewhere, but I guess 30 days leaves them quite a bit of time to steam back from the Gulf!

Ron
Guest
Ron

I agree in some ways, but thinking about it if the two RN CSGs and the French Group takes care of the Atlantic, that would leave the US Navy CSGs to look after the Pacific with further aid to the Yanks from Japan, Aus and South Korea. Possibly the US could attach an Areigh Burke class destroyer to each of the carrier groups and a SSN. Italy and Spain plus Greece should be able to look after the Med. With Poland and Denmark for the Baltic, Germany, Holland and Belgium for the North Sea and Norway with the UK SSNs… Read more »

Callum
Guest
Callum

Two RN CSGs…? We can muster a single carrier group, but two is beyond our capability to operate simultaneously. You’d need twice the number of active warships the fleet actually has. It’s even worse for aircraft, as even if everything was active, we don’t own enough to fully equip two air wings. In any event, European NATO has a pretty good measure on the Russian Northern Fleet, with superior numbers of active warships and submarines (depending on any given time, we all know how bad Russian maintenance is). I agree, it’s land forces where NATO has the toughest struggle, however… Read more »

Derek
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Derek

Two CSG’s alone? No. But with one UK CSG on deployment somewhere across the globe and suddenly NATO needs to roll out a group at short notice and can provide a multi-national escort force, then I suggest we could contribute our second carrier and probably a single escort to that group.

Callum
Guest
Callum

Aside from the fact that the second carrier will be in refit and not available for rapid response, where’s the air wing coming from? For the next decade at least, we don’t have enough aircraft to muster two full air wings.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

You make a fair point, Europe as the JEF does have some decent naval capabilities. It just concerns me from a combined UK strategy point of view though; as we pivot away from Europe after Brexit, we’re going to want to be sending our CSGs around the world to fly the flag for the UK with future trade and security partners (they often go hand in hand). Having to tie them to the north Atlantic would cause problems for this…

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

Joe, has your government security analysis said when we are doing this little land grab? The Baltics I assume. Have been hearing this story for a number of years now and so far …. nothing. Waiting until NATO builds up to the 4 30’s does not seem logical

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Well Georgia for a start. There’s almost daily land grabs, constantly shifting the border

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

Yes Levi, I have heard that the Georgians and the good people of South Ossetia like to play that game moving border makers etc. I imagine it will become an interesting border dispute for us both if Georgia ever joins NATO but for now the Georgians have learnt not to play rough

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Well, I think “nothing” is a bit of an understatement… As Levi pointed out, there’s been some interesting behaviour there, and I think Ukraine and Crimea both count too. Just because they’re not Baltic’s doesn’t mean they don’t count!

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

In those days Ron we where still in the thick of the Cold War, so we needed very high readiness forces, especially in Germany. Today we still have high readiness, once the QE is operational, one of the carriers will always be at R2 status, or ready to deploy within 48 hours. There are also RAF sqn’s and Army units held on similar readiness levels. Currently there isn’t an immediate threat of war to the British Isles, not conventional war anyway. The threat, and the terrorist threat is constantly monitored, and if threats change, the response level of our forces… Read more »

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

A surprise attack must be the perfect way to start a war against the west as we are SO badly prepared & arrogantly expect to be able to see it coming.

History is littered with people caught out by a sudden attack, the UK & USA not the least.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

And who is planning on starting a war with the west Russia? China? Terrorist threats are real, yes. But state on state doesn’t just happen over night.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

My point is we’ve been caught out before & will be caught out again. Most times we have been caught out the signs were there but we ignored or mis-interperated them & had allowed ourselves to become too weak, just as we are too weak today. It would take many years to gear up to resist a major threat unless we do the unthinkable & use nukes, inflicting global genocide across the planet, not least on ourselves. Conventional weakness makes a nuclear reponse more likely & that is reckless indeed. It also leads us to appease evil in the world… Read more »

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

And when have we been caught out in recent times?? Ever since the fall of the Berlin wall, our forces been in continual use. Gulf war 1, Bosnia, Serria leon, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, and today we have op Shader, which has been quietly going on over Syri and Iraq. And in very one of those operations, our Armed Forces have performed above and beyond, and we still show most other nations a level of training, capability and professionalism that make us the envy of the world. We might not have the biggest Forces in terms of numbers, but we… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

It should be said that not all the in role deployable force elements are at that notice. Some are much higher, and we do have high readiness elements.

Also, although the Russians could mount quick operations, the 3rd Shock Army is not waiting amongst GSFG to cross the border.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

availability of the ships to make p the group should be earmarked in advance and be ready to form up quickly. its no good if say five of the 19 R.N FLEET were scattered when the need came 30 days is largely achievable from that point of view. specially if the need was for an Albion to be available for a joined task group.

dan
Guest
dan

Meanwhile Merkel continues to do nothing and leach off everyone else for it’s security.

James Fennell
Guest
James Fennell

That’s a misperception I’m afraid, pretty much everyone except the UK and USA are increasing defence expenditure. Germany raised her’s by more than any other European state last year. ohttps://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-conference/2020/02/15/europeans-crank-up-defense-spending-amid-doubts-over-us-backing/

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

And thats because for the last 10 years they have neglected their defence posture to a criminal level. They have to increase their finances for defence just to get the kit they already have back up and operational.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

30-30-30 Seems quite a low bar to deter Russia. 30 brigades would be more up to the threat & the resources we have. As it stands the UK alone should be able to cover the target 30’s, yet we’ve let our guard down big time.
Our weakness makes agressors & terrorists worldwide bolder.

Blue Fuzz
Guest
Blue Fuzz

If the active UK carrier is in the Far East/Pacific and the 2nd UK carrier is at low readiness/in maintenance, how we will meet the 30 day commitment to NATO?

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Much less find the crew for the escorts and the other carrier. Really we only have one at full strength at a time – so, in short, we can’t

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken
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The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

Both carriers are at sea and are both fully crewed right now. I think going forward when the type 26 and 31 finally make it here they require significantly less crew than T23 so the idea that as a nation we can’t scrape together a few hundred sailors to man them will no longer hold water. Don’t underestimate this nation when it comes to the crunch whenever we’ve had to do something and our backs are against the wall we just do it . Things everyone says we can’t and bam 💩 gets pulled outa the bag. History books are… Read more »

Herodotus
Guest

True, but for every successful emergency mission, there are a couple of screwed up pre-planned missions 🙁

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

But who else has a 70k aircraft carrier with 5th gen F35’s ready to go at a moments notice once it’s operational? Nobody, that’s who.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Tonnage means nothing if you don’t have the jets. Multiple nations are looking to equip their ships with f35b capability for 12 or so jets, which is what the UK brings. This is the problem with how we gear our armed forces we buy massively expensive glamour items and then don’t properly equip them. Could we one day have a effective carrier strike force, of course but it requires a number of decisions to be made from escorts to jets, none of which seem to be in any hurry to be made.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

Given the fact that we had eight armoured brigades inn1989, but could only deploy two the fulling year in the gulf. What armoured force can we reasonably generate with only two brigades and one reserve regiment in to the future.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Both in a one shot war then no enduring capability beyond that. 1 Division of 3 brigades.

Apart from that realistically 1 armoured brigade.
We don’t need more, just get the 4 brigades we have resourced, equipped, and organised properly, which they are not.

UK should concentrate elsewhere.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

Firstly we don’t have 4 armoured brigades, where currently transiting from three to two. Secondly if we’re to pot any meaningful ground forces in to a collation be it an invasion of Iran or god forbid a war in Europe for example. Being able to only commit 1 brigade when the like of France, Poland, Turkey and Greece are able to field entire divisions, not only would it be supper embassing for us but further yet a single brigade could be destroyed in days. I appreciate that we excel in other areas but istar equipment cant take and hold ground,… Read more »

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

The capabilitys of the Britsh Army far out strip those of Turkey Greece and Poland. They might have good numbers on paper, but can they deploy those numbers far beyond there boarders, can they sustain expeditionary operations thousands of miles from home for months on end like we can. And How well trained are they. Lots of nations have loads of tanks on paper, but how many are any good and operational.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

With international assistance as part of a coalition yes they could deploy them abroad. Granted much of that support would come from us, but frankly no ones going to care about us or are opinion if all were doing is flying the planes and sailing the ships that bring the forces over. while providing information, to the foreign forces who are the ones going to be fighting and dying for the objective inevitably alongside American troops.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I know we don’t Harry, I was not talking of only Armoured Brigades.

As I said, in a major operation the army is being structured on a one shot best effort of 3 brigades, taken from the FOUR we have.

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

A single brigade can disappear in flames in minutes read up on what happened in Ukraine a couple years ago as a result of Russian artillery . Numbers are not the be all and end all big Saddam had 4th biggest army on planet and over 4000 tanks in 1991 and we all saw how that worked out.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I know we don’t have 4 Armoured Brigades Harry. We have 4 Brigades, of which 3 would form the division. At best effort.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

Although I do agree that four armoured brigades properly equipped, is a good baseline.

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

So, thanks to defensenews website, I have a price for CMV-22B. The USN had to drop 2x CMV-22B out of their 2021 budget request. The 2 would have cost $211.4m including a spares package. So that is $105.7m each, inc spares.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Why are they still wearing DPM? I thought that was long gone and MTP was adopted.