High Readiness Forces and Headquarters in the NATO force structure
Prior to building a new NATO command structure, Allies had already established as part of the new force structure a number of High Readiness Forces (Land) Headquarters modelled on the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) and supplemented by other headquarters at lower readiness. These deployable headquarters can command and control forces from the size of a brigade numbering thousands of troops up to a corps of tens of thousands.
SHAPE has now certified a total of eight High Readiness Forces (Land) Headquarters:
- ARRC Headquarters is based in Gloucester, England, with the United Kingdom as framework nation, providing nearly 60 per cent of the headquarters personnel and assigning its two divisions to the corps, as well as combat service and combat service support units;
- Rapid Deployable German-Netherlands Corps Headquarters based on the 1st German-Netherlands Corps Headquarters in Münster, Germany ;
- Rapid Deployable Italian Corps Headquarters based on the Italian Rapid Reaction Corps Headquarters in Solbiate Olona, close to Milan, Italy;
- Rapid Deployable Spanish Corps Headquarters based on the Spanish Corps Headquarters in Valencia, Spain ;
- Rapid Deployable Turkish Corps Headquarters based on the 3rd Turkish Corps Headquarters near Istanbul, Turkey;
- Eurocorps in Strasbourg, France, sponsored by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain. Eurocorps has a different international military status than the other five headquarters but has signed a technical arrangement with Allied Command Operations and can also be committed to NATO missions.
- HQ Multinational Corps Northeast based in Szczecin, Poland.
- French Rapid Reaction Corps based in Lille, France
These headquarters have taken turns in commanding the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for six to nine month rotations, and also take turns providing the six month rotating land component command of the NATO Response Force. They are now contributing to the provision of augmentation to the ISAF Joint Command (IJC) in Kabul.
Deployable High Readiness Forces (Maritime) Headquarters can command and control assigned forces up to the level of a NATO naval task force made up of dozens of warships.
Three such headquarters have been certified by SHAPE:
- Headquarters Commander Italian Maritime Forces on board the Italian Navy aircraft carrier Garibaldi;
- Headquarters Commander Spanish Maritime Forces on board the Spanish Navy landing ship dock Castilla;
- Headquarters Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces on board the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.
Two more High Readiness Forces (Maritime) Headquarters are being prepared, one by France, initially on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and in future the landing ship dock Mistral, and by NATO's Striking Force Atlantic, which is double-hatted with the US Second Fleet, on board the command ship USS Mount Whitney.