NATO launched its main annual exercise for the Alliance’s quick reaction force on Wednesday (28 October 2020) with around 2,500 troops deploying to Lithuania. Exercise “Brilliant Jump” will test NATO’s logistics and its ability to respond and move NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) quickly in the event of a crisis.
Planning for the exercise began in mid-2019 and the manoeuver has been notified to the OSCE. The 2,500 soldiers and 600 vehicles are deployed to Lithuania within days using trains, flights, ships and convoys. The Alliance’s Multinational Corps North-East is overseeing the drill which runs until 6 November. Participating units will then stay in the region to participate in Lithuania’s Iron Wolf exercise before returning to their home countries.
“This long-planned annual exercise involves moving elements of our very high readiness ‘Spearhead Force’ to Lithuania in late October and early November”, said NATO Deputy spokesman Piers Cazalet. “This is a routine exercise to test how well our forces work together and unrelated to developments in Belarus”.
NATO member states take turns heading NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force which includes some 5,000 to 8,000 soldiers that can be deployed in days. The core of this year’s high reaction force is Poland’s 21st Podhale Riflemen Brigade, supported by Spanish and Czech units. The multinational force was ordered into existence in 2014 to respond to the changes in the security environment, including Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.