From 1 January the UK is taking the lead of Nato’s VJTF, comprised of 6,000 troops with the 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team as its core.
The UK’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps will serve as the land component command.
Under an annually rotating leadership the UK has taken command from Germany, who led the VJTF in its deployment of troops to Kosovo in 2023 as part of a peacekeeping mission.
Following the Integrated Review Refresh in 2023, the publication of the UK’s central strategic document laying out priorities and considerations for the way it structures and directs its efforts in defence, the UK emphasised its contribution to Nato and highlighted the threat of Russia to British interests domestically and overseas.
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“The UK is at the heart of Nato,” said UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in the UK Ministry of Defence announcement for the VJTF leadership transfer. “By heading up NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2024, we are taking another leading position in the Alliance, sending a clear message that Britain is stepping up to our global defence commitments as Nato enters its 75th year.”
The VJTF was created after Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 as the highest-readiness element of Nato’s larger Response Force (NRF) of 9 Nato Allies – Albania, Hungary, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the UK – that also contribute air, maritime and special operations forces.
The Nato Response Force will transition into the new Allied Reaction Force in mid-2024.
The 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team at the core of the VJTF is comprised of a light cavalry regiment, as well as four light-mechanised infantry battalions supported by artillery, engineering, logistics, and medical regiments. Notable elements from British military include the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the 4th battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the 2nd battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
The UK’s existing commitments to Nato in the region include Operation Carbit, a brigade of 1,000 troops in Estonia as a part of the enhanced Forward Presence mission. The UK also supports a Reconnaissance Squadron to a US-led Nato battlegroup in Poland, and the Sky Sabre Ground-Based Air Defence system protecting Polish airspace.