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16 October 2003

NATO Response Force Inaugurates Air, Maritime Components

Oct. 15: NRF will provide NATO with a rapid reaction force

The United States welcomed the inauguration of the first two components of the new NATO Response Force (NRF) October 15 in The Netherlands.

The NRF is part of ongoing NATO transformation to meet the new threats from global terrorism, according U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns.

The NRF -- first proposed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in September 2002 and approved by the NATO heads of state at the Prague Summit two months later -- will number up to 22,000 personnel with joint air, maritime and land components, able to deploy within five days.

Following is the press release from the US Mission to NATO:

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NEWS RELEASE
October 15, 2003

INAUGURATION OF NATO RESPONSE FORCE

Statement by Ambassador Nicholas Burns

" The United States welcomes today's inauguration in The Netherlands of the new NATO Response Force. The NATO Response Force is an important, innovative new military capability for NATO, and further evidence of NATO's on-going transformation to meet the new threats from global terrorism.

The NATO Response Force concept is expeditionary in character and design. It will be fully trained and certified as a joint and combined armed force, able to deploy quickly and wherever required to participate in the full spectrum of NATO missions. It will give NATO the unique capability, which it has never had before, of reacting swiftly and decisively to respond to any crisis threatening our members.

The air and maritime components being inaugurated today are the first two components of the NATO Response Force. At full capability, the NRF will number up to 22,000 personnel with joint air, maritime and land components, able to deploy within 5 days.

Proposed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld last September in Warsaw and approved by the NATO Heads of State at the Prague Summit in November 2002, the NATO Response Force will provide the Alliance a strong and credible high readiness capability."

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