NATO’s New Force Model

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At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit held in Madrid on 28-30 June 2022, the Heads of State and Government of the member states agreed that the new Strategic Concept[1] In addition to its acceptance, it also took decisions on other important issues for the future of the organization. One of these decisions from the summit statement[2] is the “New Force Model” in Article 9.[3] 2023 has been set as the target date for the implementation of the New Force Model, which will replace the NATO Response Force (NRF), which was adopted at the Prague Summit in 2002 and entered into force in 2003 and aims to connect the forces at high readiness level with a common rotation plan.

The current NRF consists of a multinational joint force that can respond to any security problem in a very short time, from crisis management to collective defense. The structure of the NRF has been strengthened with the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which has been revised so that it can respond more quickly to changes in the security environment, with the decision taken at the 2014 Wales Summit.

The NRF, consisting of land, sea, air and special forces components that the Alliance can deploy rapidly wherever it is needed, and consisting of approximately 40 thousand soldiers with a 15-day preparation period, was activated for the first time for the role of deterrence and defense after the Russia-Ukraine War, VJTF elements, NATO’s eastern deployed in designated areas. Not only in responding to crises; NRF elements, which can also be deployed in disasters, were previously activated to support the evacuation of Afghans and their families working with NATO after the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan in August 2021.

It is envisaged that the new NATO Force Model will provide the opportunity to intervene on a much larger scale and at a higher level of readiness than the NRF, which is envisaged to replace it. It is aimed to create a larger talent pool with the New NATO Force Model, which will consist of highly prepared forces in the land, sea, air and cyber fields to be assigned to predetermined plans for the defense of the Alliance. According to the plan, which will enable NATO to respond to any unexpected situation in a very short time and allies to allocate more forces to NATO, over 100,000 in a 10-day period in the first phase, approximately 200,000 in a 10-30 day period in the second phase, and 30 in the third phase. It is planned to create a force of at least 500,000 people in a 180-day period.[4]

When asked at the press conference after the Military Committee Meeting in January 2023 about the latest situation regarding NATO’s New Force Model, which is still under development with alliance member country proposals, General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe (SACEUR), said: He gave a political answer that the member states will decide on the force model to be determined after it has been examined in a rigorous military logic. In addition, Cavoli emphasized the importance of determining the magnitude of the threat against which NATO forces will be deployed and determining what capability and how much is needed to carry out a plan.

It is thought that the core of the model, which is thought to be prepared based on the idea that this should be done with the forces in Europe, instead of waiting for reinforcements from across the Atlantic for a reaction in the event of a tension in the European continent, will be formed from the European alliance members.[5]

In this context, the subject is discussed with the Strategic Compass, which was approved by the EU Council and entered into force one month after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War on 21 March 2022 and aims at the strategic autonomy of the EU in the field of defense and security[6] should be considered together. For example, the Rapid Deployment Capacity of 5000 people, which is expected to be fully operational by 2025 after completing its preparations with the exercises to be held in the Strategic Compass, and in a way corresponds to the VJTF in NATO, was adapted to the New Force Model needs in terms of both quantity and quality, and the necessary command-control its integration into the New Force Model can be considered as an alternative.

The EU is not an alternative to NATO in the field of defense; With NATO’s New Force Model, which is thought to ensure the functionalization of the Strategic Compass, which is often emphasized as complementary It is thought that it can be pre-deployed alternately on the eastern flank of.[7] In a sense, this means that the alliance will be able to respond in a very short time in the face of any possibility that may arise by realizing the principle of “deterrence, which is stated to be provided on land, sea and air with combat ready elements” specified in Article 21 of NATO’s new Strategic Concept. Therefore, a large and permanent military presence, supported by the advance deployment of equipment and the strategic deployment of combat forces, comes to the fore as part of the new NATO Force Model.

In the report, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) evaluated the effects of the new Strategic Concept on the alliance’s strategy for the foreseeable future and offered ideas for implementing the strategic decisions of the Madrid Summit,[8] there are also statements about the New Force Model. In these statements, it is summarized that all European allies should ensure that adequate resources are allocated for the new Force Model and that with the implementation of the model, the alliance will be able to operate from all directions and from all areas (multidomain-land-air-sea-cyber-space)[9] stated that it will significantly increase its ability to respond to incoming threats.

To open a parenthesis regarding the “adequate resource allocation” among the proposals in the report, the share of the national budget allocated to defense, which NATO member countries have committed to comply with, is below 2%[10] will need to take action on the issue, as in the case of Germany.

As it can be understood, NATO’s New Force Model differs from the existing NRF in terms of both scale and preparation times and the elements to be used (such as cyber) and that especially the countries that are members of both organizations can be extremely meticulous in agreeing on the model with the fear of duplication and It is considered that it may not reach the targeted year 2023 to give the model its final shape. It is considered that the issue will be among the important issues that will be on the agenda, such as the membership of Finland and Sweden, at the NATO Summit to be held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on 11-12 July 2023.

Despite all these goals, the numbers envisaged in the New Force Model seem too ambitious. Even in the case of Finland and Sweden’s membership, it will not be easy to gather more than 100,000 soldiers in the 10-day period in the first stage, and around 200,000 in the 10-30-day period in the second stage. The deployment of some of the soldiers to Finland, which is bordering Russia in case of membership, after the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern wing, with some of the foreseen number of soldiers, indicates a risky situation in terms of a possible hot conflict between Russia and NATO in the future.

On the other hand, while the USA, which prioritizes the Pacific, leaves the defense of Europe to the Europeans; It seems inevitable that doubts regarding the sustainability of the command and control of the New Force Model without the USA will come to the fore.

[1] “NATO 2022 Strategic Concept”, NATO,, (Date of Accession:08.03.2023).

[2] “Madrid Summit Declaration”, NATO,, (Date of Accession:08.03.2023).

[3] “New NATO Force Model”, NATO,, (Date of Accession:08.03.2023).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Sven Biscop, EGMONT Policy Brief,, (Date of Accession:08.03.2023).

[6] “A Strategic Compass for Security and Defence”, EU,, (Date of Accession:10.03.2023).

[7] Biscop, op.cit.

[8] “Political Committe (PC) General Report”, NATO Parliamentary Assembly,, (Date of Accession:09.03.2023).

[9] Mehmet Fatih Ceylan, NATO Geçmişi, Günceli, Geleceği, Orion Kitabevi, Ankara 2022, p.167.

[10] “Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2014-2022)”, NATO,, (Date of Accession:09.03.2023).

Emekli Deniz Albay Ferhan ORAL
1972 yılında Denizli’de doğdu. 1994 yılında Deniz Harp Okulundan mezun oldu. 24 yıllık meslek hayatı süresince değişik denizaltı gemileri ve karargah görevlerinde çalıştı. Çalıştığı karargah görevleri arasında, Bosna-Hersek AB Gücü Sivil-Asker İşbirliği Başkanlığı, Genelkurmay Başkanlığı Plan Prensipler Başkanlığı, Avrupa Müttefik Kuvvetleri Yüksek Karargahı (SHAPE) Harekat-İstihbarat Başkanlığı ve Çok Uluslu Deniz Güvenliği Mükemmeliyet Merkezi yer almaktadır. Sosyoloji ve Denizcilikte Emniyet, Güvenlik ve Çevre Yönetimi alanlarında yüksek lisans sahibi olup, halen Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Denizcilik Fakültesinde Denizcilikte Emniyet, Güvenlik ve Çevre Yönetimi alanındaki doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. Ulusal hakemli dergilerde yayınlanmış üç makalesi bulunmaktadır. Deniz güvenliği ve NATO konuları araştırma ve çalışma alanları arasında olup İngilizce ve temel seviyede Fransızca bilmektedir.