From January 1, 2023, Germany will lead the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) of the North Atlantic Alliance.
This was reported on the NATO website.
“Germany is an important ally, and we thank the FRG for taking over the leadership of the VJTF in 2023 ... By taking the lead, Germany is convincingly showing the strength of its commitment and potential,” NATO spokesman Oana Lungescu was quoted as saying by the press service of the bloc.
Amid Russia's sting operation in Ukraine, the official said, "there should be no doubt about NATO's determination to defend and defend every inch of Allied territory."
As explained in the alliance, the basis of the VJTF will be the 37th Tank Grenadier Brigade of the Bundeswehr.
In addition to it, the formation will include units from Norway, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.
The number of VJTF next year will be 11.5 thousand people.
At the same time, earlier it was 6.4 thousand military personnel.
The High Readiness Joint Task Force was created by decision of the 2014 Wales Summit.
The member countries of the bloc agreed that it would include ground forces, a certain number of air forces, navies and special forces.
The main task of the VJTF is to respond to the challenges that appear, especially on the "periphery" of NATO.
The grouping must be brought to combat readiness within a few days.
During peacetime exercises, the Joint High Readiness Task Force works out "various scenarios for ensuring collective defense."
In a RT commentary, Alexei Podberyozkin, director of the Center for Military-Political Studies, said that the VJTF does not pose a serious threat to Russia, although it can conduct combat training activities on the "eastern flank", that is, near Russian borders.
“The joint high-readiness task force can hardly be called a serious military force.
To a greater extent, her activities are of demonstrative significance.
The Alliance, as it were, makes it clear that it is ready to deploy troops in different locations.
The participation of the VJTF in any real hostilities seems to me an unlikely prospect, ”says Podberyozkin.
German soldiers on exercises in Lithuania
© Michael Kappeler
In a conversation with RT, RISS leading expert Sergei Ermakov noted that Berlin's leadership of the VJTF can be seen as a prologue to Germany's possible military leadership in Europe in the near future.
“VJTF is, in fact, the so-called expeditionary force.
The Bundeswehr developed within the framework of such a concept and therefore is quite suitable for the leadership of this group, ”said Yermakov.
At the same time, the expert drew attention to the serious problems that the German Armed Forces are currently experiencing.
So, according to the German media, the fleet of German Puma infantry fighting vehicles is in an unsatisfactory condition.
Despite the fact that this machine is the most expensive in its class, 18 units of this equipment, designed to replenish the NATO rapid reaction force, failed during a recent exercise.
Earlier, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published information about the chronic shortage of ammunition in the Bundeswehr.
The shortage of shells needed for the army in financial terms is almost € 30 billion. According to the British The Times, the German Armed Forces have enough stocks of weapons for two days of active hostilities.
True, there are more optimistic estimates.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an article in which it was reported that the Bundeswehr's arsenal would last for two weeks.
At the same time, the minimum NATO indicator is 30 days.
The lack of ammunition and the problem with the quality of military equipment are also recognized at the official level.
The German leadership has already promised to rectify the situation.
However, according to Yermakov, in the foreseeable future, Berlin is unlikely to resolve the issues of material and technical support of the Bundeswehr, including due to the continued supply of weapons to Ukraine.
“In its current form, the Bundeswehr is not ready to carry out the tasks of countering Russia, which NATO formulates under the term “collective defense.”
Germany needs huge investments not only in the ground forces, but also in the air force, the Navy, ”Ermakov explained.
Speech by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky at the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June 2022
© NATO press service
The expert recalled that Germany does not yet comply with NATO financial standards, which require spending at least 2% of GDP on the armed forces, and directing 20% of the military budget to the purchase of new weapons.
“If spending falls short of the 20% target, the risk of equipment becoming obsolete, increasing capacity gaps and interoperability gaps, and weakening Europe’s military-industrial and technological base increases,” the NATO website says.
From the Baltic to the Black Sea
Experts see the main threat to Russia in the increased presence of American troops in Europe, as well as in the deployment of large formations and heavy equipment near Russian borders.
Recall that as part of the “largest reorganization of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War”, NATO is going to increase the number of forces on high alert from 40 thousand to more than 300 thousand people.
According to the plan, which was presented by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the end of the June summit in Madrid, the alliance's rapid reaction forces should be ready for deployment within 15 days.
Another 100 thousand people are put on alert within ten days, and the rest within 30 days.
According to the Secretary General, the alliance is significantly increasing its presence in the eastern part of NATO, demonstrating to Russia its readiness to defend and defend "every inch of Allied territory."
The United States plays an important role in this policy.
Washington is going to establish in Poland the permanent headquarters of the 5th US Army Corps and strengthen the interoperability of US forces and the armed forces of other NATO countries on the entire eastern flank.
At the end of November, Stoltenberg confirmed his readiness to implement ambitious plans to increase the presence of alliance troops in Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Prior to this statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense recorded a more than twofold increase in alliance troops in Eastern and Central Europe since February this year.
This information was provided in early November by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting of the joint board of the military departments of Russia and Belarus.
“In Eastern and Central Europe, as well as in the Baltic countries, the formations of the armed forces of non-regional NATO states are deployed.
New multinational battalion tactical groups are being created in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Since February 2022, the number of the group has increased by 2.5 times and amounts to more than 30 thousand people, and in the short term it may increase even more, ”Shoigu said.
The build-up of NATO's "forward presence" and the expansion of the alliance to the east at the expense of Sweden and Finland was also discussed at the collegium of the Ministry of Defense with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which took place on December 21.
In this regard, the military department of the Russian Federation decided to increase the age of conscription of citizens from 18 to 21 years, and raise the limit to 30 years, create the Moscow and Leningrad military districts and form new formations, including in the liberated territories included in the referenda in composition of Russia.
“In order to guarantee the solution of the tasks of ensuring the military security of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to increase the number of armed forces to 1.5 million military personnel, including contract military personnel to 695 thousand people,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
According to Alexei Podberezkin, the current situation requires the Russian Federation to significantly increase the size of the army and to comprehensively saturate the troops with various weapons, including heavy equipment.
“NATO is getting more and more involved in the Ukrainian conflict, more and more warehouses with ammunition and equipment appear near our borders, new advanced units are being formed.
Naturally, Russia is forced to react to this and act in advance.
In the near future, we can expect a very serious increase in both the offensive and defensive capabilities of our Armed Forces, ”the expert concluded.