#WeAreNATO: But what does that actually mean?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a military and political alliance of 29 countries across Europe and North America. The UK has been there from the very start.

A secure European region is a secure Britain. That’s why the Royal Navy make waves securing the seas leading NATO’s maritime groups. It’s why the British Army train with allies day and night, deployed overseas with a presence for deterrence. Meanwhile our pilots take flight overhead, policing the skies to protect our allies.

Here are nine of the UK Armed Forces’ major current contributions to NATO in 2019:👇

1. Operation TORAL 🇦🇫

Op TORAL is the codename given to the UK deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan in support of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (RSM).

British troops are stationed in Kabul where they take the lead within the Kabul Security Force, a 7 nation organisation which provides vital force protection for UK and coalition advisors who are working with our Afghan partners to increase the capabilities across the country.

2. Operation CABRIT 🇪🇪 🇵🇱

Op CABRIT is the codename given to the UK deployment to Estonia and Poland where British troops are leading a multinational battlegroup as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

The UK Armed Forces have a leading role in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) in the Baltic States. This enhances Euro-Atlantic security, reassures our Allies and deters our enemies by leading a combat-ready multinational Battlegroup.

3. Operation ELGIN 🇽🇰

Operation Elgin is the UK’s contribution to NATO-led international task force in Kosovo. The taskforce was established in 1999 after UN Security Council Resolution 1244. It aims to assist the local security authorities in maintaining a safe and secure environment for all it’s citizens.

This NATO -led taskforce conduct a range of tasks including assisting with the return or relocation of missing refugees; reconstruction and de-mining of an area; medical assistance; security and public order; border security; ammunition and explosives amnesty programme and weapons destruction.

4. Maritime Groups ⚓️

The Standing NATO Maritime Groups, are multinational naval forces made up of vessels from the allied nations on a rotational basis. These vessels are permanently available to NATO for taskings ranging from participation in exercises to intervening in operational missions in Europe.

Most recently the Royal Navy have contributed HMS Westminster and HMS Cattistock.

The UK’s maritime commitment to NATO operations is;

  • Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 1 — These specialist vessels conduct mine clearance exercises, maritime security patrols and regional engagements.
  • Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 — These NATO warships are ready for operations and exercises, maritime security patrols and regional engagements across Northern European waters and the surrounding area.

5. Baltic Air Policing ✈️

NATO’s Air Policing Mission is a peacetime defence mission, safeguarding the integrity of the NATO Alliance Members Airspace by policing the airspace 24/7.

The UK is committed to the security of the baltic region and wider NATO Alliance. RAF Typhoon jets have recently returned from Baltic Air Policing on Op AZOTIZE. The jets and their pilots’ patrol, keeping the airspace safe and reacting to any incursions or incidents.

Over the four-month deployment on Op AZOTIZE, RAF Typhoons conducted 21 interceptions of 56 Russian aircraft in the skies of Eastern Europe.

6. The Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) 🛫

The Royal Air Force is one of the key contributors to the AWACS programme. They operate a number of AWACS aircraft from RAF Waddington, which is the hub of UK Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).

The RAF’s role with the AWACS over the years has been substantial, most recently on Operation SHADER over the skies of Iraq and Syria — providing ‘big picture’ situational awareness for our allies.

7. NATO Response Force (NRF) 🛳

The NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced, multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces (SOF) components that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed.

The UK regularly contribute to the programme. Most recently demonstrated by the Combined Amphibious Task Group, led by HMS Albion on the Baltic Protector deployment.

Earlier this year it was announced that HMS Queen Elizabeth will join the ranks of the NRF when she becomes fully operational.

8. Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) 🌊

For 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines patrol the world’s oceans. Their mission is to carry the Trident missile system.

CASD is soley owned and operated by the UK and is the cornerstone of the UK’s Defence. As one of only three NATO countries (USA and France) who own and operate a nuclear deterrent, the Royal Navy plays a major role in protecting the UK and NATO Allies.

An attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies. NATO’s Article 5.

9. NATO staffing 👨🏾‍💼 👨🏻‍💼👩🏾‍💼 👩🏼‍💼

UK military personnel work alongside allies in headquarters around the world, from Brussels to Italy, ensuring NATO is always ready to respond.

The UK is host to two permanent NATO Headquarters, and home to hundreds of allied forces:

Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) is the central command of all NATO maritime forces and the MARCOM Commander who is the primary maritime advisor to the Alliance.

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), is a High Readiness Force (Land) Headquarters ready for deployment worldwide. Since its creation in 1992 the ARRC has deployed four separate times on real-world operations.

Find out more about the NATO headquarters in the UK here:

Find out what other nations contribute to NATO here:

Voices Of The Armed Forces

Stories from the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the UK Armed Forces around the globe.

Ministry of Defence

Written by

DefenceHQ is the official corporate news channel of the UK Ministry of Defence.

Voices Of The Armed Forces

Stories from the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the UK Armed Forces around the globe.

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