NATO to expand rapid reaction force

Jun 28, 2022

The expansion of NATO's rapid reaction force marks a new phase of its response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, says Associate Defense Analyst at GlobalData, Madeline Wild.

"The plan to drastically increase the number of troops deployed as part of the rapid reaction force has been announced at a time when Russia is making advances in Ukraine and has launched new missile strikes against Ukrainian cities," says analyst Wild.

"As Western leaders meet at the G7 and NATO summit this week, Russia is making gains in eastern Ukraine and has issued threats to Baltic states imposing restrictions on trade access to Kaliningrad. The Baltic states rely heavily on NATO for upholding their security, due to their limited defence budget sizes." She suggests that, while NATO’s deployment of extra troops to the rapid reaction force is "not a direct reaction to the recent changes in the conflict, the decision to do so will have been influenced by it." The announcements from NATO show the organization is committed to supporting Ukraine and bolstering European security as the conflict continues, now into its fifth month.

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described the battle group enhancements as part of "the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defence since the Cold War". He says several NATO battlegroups in eastern Europe will be bolstered to "brigade level" (tactical units of several thousand troops), which is intended to send a clear message of deterrence to Russia.