The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) has been declared ‘combat ready’ after passing their combat readiness evaluation or CREVAL. The ARRC has been presented with NATO’s new ‘warfighting guidon’, which it will hold throughout its tenure as NATO’s War Fighting Corps at readiness until January 2022. This certification follows more than nine months of evaluation by Allied Land Command, with the final field assessment phase during exercise Loyal Leda 2020 in the U.K. This computer aided exercise involved over 1000 ARRC personnel and key enablers from 21 nations, with wider collaboration from military units and civilian organisations across Europe and North America. CREVAL assures the Alliance that ARRC operates to NATO standards and can work alongside other NATO nations, with multinational Divisions and up to 120,000 troops under command.
Presenting the warfighting guidon, the Commander of Allied Land Command, Lieutenant General Roger L. Cloutier Jr, said, “As NATO Commander responsible for conducting this evaluation, I’m pleased to say the ARRC has done a phenomenal job here and is ready. They’ve demonstrated their ability to operate and train in a COVID environment, and… they’ve demonstrated their mastery of combat operations in the context of multi-domain operations.”
The ARRC Commander, Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smythe-Osbourne responded, “This is a distinct honour for Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. The first such headquarters, since the Cold War, to serve in role as NATO’s corps warfighting headquarters. It is a responsibility to be ready, come whatever the hour, whatever the task.”
“We must be able to operate together as an Alliance if called upon, from crisis response all the way up to major combat operations. This is important because we have multiple Corps headquarters and multiple subordinate units that could be cross-attached from one Corps to the other depending on the circumstances.”
Notably, the ARRC is supporting Romania’s Multi-National Corps – South East (MNC-SE) reach interim operational capability by December 2021 and will hand over the War Fighting Corps guidon and readiness responsibility to NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Spain (NRDC-ESP) in January 2022. Both units have been involved in this exercise, Loyal Leda 2020.