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NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP)

Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Latvia

NATO's military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance is a key element of its enhanced deterrence and defence posture, which has been improved in recent years to reflect the new security reality in the Euro-Atlantic area.

The forward presence of allied forces is defensive, proportionate, transparent and in line with the Alliance's international commitments and obligations. 

It represents an important commitment on the part of the Allies and is a tangible reminder that an attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all.

NATO's forward presence comprises eight multinational battlegroups, contributed by framework nations and other contributing Allies on a voluntary, fully sustainable and rotational basis.
 
Troops and personnel from NATO allies currently serve, train and exercise together in the east of the Alliance, representing a strong expression of unity and solidarity.
 
Forces from contributing countries rotate in and out of battle groups; at any given time, they can be deployed in the area of operations or stationed in their home countries, if necessary, with the ability to deploy rapidly.
 
A Spanish vehicle mounting an antitank missile

At the 2014 Wales Summit, the Allies agreed to implement the Readiness Action Plan (RAP) to respond rapidly to fundamental changes in the security environment, at NATO's borders and elsewhere.
Building on the RAP, the Allies adopted new decisions at the 2016 Warsaw Summit to reinforce NATO's deterrence and defence posture and to help project stability and strengthen security beyond NATO's territory.
 
These decisions constitute the largest increase in the Alliance's collective defence in a generation. Combined with the forces and capabilities needed for rapid reinforcement by follow-on forces, these measures will enhance the security of all Allies and ensure the protection of Alliance territory, populations, airspace and sea lines of communication, including across the Atlantic, against threats from wherever they emanate.In line with the decisions of the 2016 Warsaw Summit, four multinational battle groups were deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in July 2017.
The allies also increased their activity in the southeast through a tailored presence on land, sea and air to improve situational awareness, interoperability and responsiveness.In response to Russia's actions in the Black Sea region in November 2018, NATO decided to increase its presence in the region to further improve situational awareness.
The allies also stepped up their support to Georgia and Ukraine with more training and exercises for maritime forces and coast guards, as well as port visits.
 
Following Russia's unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Allies have sent more ships, aircraft and troops to NATO territory in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, further strengthening the Alliance's deterrence and defence posture. This includes the deployment of thousands of additional troops to NATO battle groups, fighter aircraft to support NATO's air policing missions, reinforced naval forces in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas, an increase in overall troop readiness and, for the first time, the deployment of the NATO Response Force's enhanced readiness element to Romania.
 
At the NATO Extraordinary Summit in Brussels on 24 March 2022, Allied Heads of State and Government agreed to establish four additional multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. 
 
At the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, the Allies agreed on a new NATO Force Model, which represents a further expansion of the high-readiness forces potentially available to NATO where and when needed and new measures to increase NATO's ability to reinforce Allies in the East. In addition, the Allies agreed to expand multinational Battlegroups from battalion to Brigade size. The details of the NATO Force Model, including its exact scale and composition, are still being developed.
 
Subsequently, at the 2023 Vilnius Summit, the Allies approved a new generation of regional defence plans, which will significantly improve the coherence of NATO's collective defence plans with Allies' national force, posture, capabilities and command and control plans. The Allies also agreed to enhance NATO's ability to reinforce its forces in the East by developing a new generation of regional defence plans:
 
  • more pre-positioned equipment and weapons arsenals;
  • more forward deployed capabilities, including integrated air and missile defence systems;
  • strengthened command and control; 
  • enhanced regional defence planning, with specific forces pre-assigned to the defence of specific allies.

NATO, and thus Spain as an ally, has increased its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance as a direct consequence of Russia's behaviour, which reflects a pattern of aggressive actions against its neighbours and the wider transatlantic community.

NATO's eFP deployment map
The eight battlegroups are integrated into NATO's command structure to ensure the necessary readiness and responsiveness.
 
As of December 2023, these eight battlegroups are composed of the following Allies:
 
  • Host country: Bulgaria

Framework country: Italy

Contributing nations: Albania, Greece, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Turkey, USA 

  • Host nation: Estonia

Framework nation: United Kingdom

Contributing nations: France and Iceland 

  • Host nation: Hungary

Framework nation: Hungary

Contributing countries: Croatia, Italy, Turkey and the United States 

  • Host nation: Latvia

Framework nation: Canada

Contributing nations: Albania, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro and Poland 

  • Host nation: Lithuania

Framework nation: Germany

Contributing nations: Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and the USA 

  • Host nation: Poland

Framework nation: United States

Contributing nations: Croatia, Romania, United Kingdom 

  • Host nation: Romania

Framework nation: France

Contributing nations: Belgium, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, and the USA 

  • Host nation: Slovakia

Framework nation: Czech Republic 

Contributing nations: Germany and Slovenia (Spain will lead this multinational battlegroup from July 2024).

STRONG COHESION' 2023 EXERCISE
The Spanish Armed Forces began the progressive deployment of personnel and capabilities in Slovakia on 20 January 2024. Spain will lead a Multinational Brigade, maintaining a multinational Battlegroup permanently deployed in the town of Lešť which, in June, will take over from the one currently deployed led by the Czech Republic.
 
The forces to be deployed on the ground by the end of the first half of the year will contribute to the deterrence and defence capabilities required by the Alliance.
 
From July 2024, the Spanish Armed Forces are expected to lead the Alliance's Multinational Brigade in this eastern flank country.
 
This effort will be joined by other nations which, under Spanish leadership, will complete the Battlegroup's deterrence and defence capabilities, including the contribution of Portuguese armoured and Czech mechanised units.
 
The task of this initial contingent is to establish the necessary conditions for the transition of mission leadership between the Czech Republic and Spain. At the same time, the deployed force will increase its instruction and training activities, taking advantage of the great opportunities offered in terms of facilities by the Lešť manoeuvre field and the calendar of multinational exercises scheduled between March and June.
 
Our country is providing this Atlantic Alliance mission with forces and capabilities as part of its commitments to the International Security and Defence Organisations. Spain is a responsible partner and ally, committed to NATO's defence objectives.
 
This deployment of forces to support and reinforce NATO's forward presence on NATO's eastern flank demonstrates the firm commitment of Spain and its Armed Forces to our allies and Spain's resolute contribution to the Alliance's deterrence efforts in Eastern Europe.

SPAIN BEGINS DEPLOYMENT OF THE GROUND FORCES THAT WILL MAKE UP THE BATTLEGROUP OF THE NATO MISSION IN SLOVAKIA

SPAIN BEGINS DEPLOYMENT OF THE GROUND FORCES THAT WILL MAKE UP THE BATTLEGROUP OF THE NATO MISSION IN SLOVAKIA

Spanish battalion group picture

Spain's contribution to NATO's Battlegroup in Latvia is made up of a Mechanised Tactical Subgroup, a Sapper Unit, various positions within the Battlegroup Staff and the Latvian Brigade, and a national support element, which includes the Logistics Unit.

The number of military personnel deployed in Latvia is around 600. Due to the situation created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Spain has decided to reinforce the contingent deployed in Latvia with an additional 250 troops.

The main assets contributed by Spain are the "Leopard 2E" battle tanks and the "Pizarro" Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV) and a NASAMS Anti-Aircraft Defence Unit (UDAA). With the new troop increase, the additional capabilities contributed by our country will be a Field Artillery Unit, an Engineer Unit (sappers and support), and logistical support elements.
 
In addition, other mechanised means such as the M-113 Armoured Tracked Transport (TOA), heavy mortars, Sapper Combat Vehicles (VCZ) and "Spike" anti-tank missiles, as well as units that substantially improve the combat capacity of the Tactical Subgroup, such as a JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) team and a UAV (unmanned aircraft) "Raven", will also be provided.

 

2024

  • June 13th. Handover/Takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent take place. eFP XIV strarts its mission.
  • 02 May. The CHOD accompanied the Minister of Defense on her visit to Slovakia.
  • January 20th. Deployment of personnel and capabilities of the multinational Battlegroup that will lead Spain from the second half of the year begins.  

2023

  • December 13th. The 'Aragón' I Brigade relieves the 'Guadarrama' XII Brigade. Start of eFP XIV.
  • July 21st. Relief of the contingent deployed in the NASAMS Unit in eFP XIII.
  • June 27th. The contingent is relieved. eFP XIII takes over the mission.
  • January 13th. Handover/Takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent take place. eFP XII strarts its mission.

2022

  • July 20th. Handover/Takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent take place. eFP XI strarts its mission.
  • March 8th. Spain´s Prime Minister visits Spanish troops deployed to Lavia.
  • January 17th. Handover/Takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent take place. Lieutenant Colonel Fernando Fuentesal García is the commander of the eFP X.

2021

  • October 11th to 23rd. A Spanish tactical subgroup take part in 'Iron Wolf' in Lithuania.
  • September 20th to 27th  A Spanish sapper platoon teake part in exercise 'Eager Leopard' in Lithuania.
  • September 6th to 16th. Spanish troops integrated within the 'letonia' Battlegroup take part in exercise 'Silver Arrow'.
  • July 14th. The XI 'Extremadura' Brigade (eFP IX) took over from the I 'Aragón' Brigade.
  • July 8th. Spain's Prime Minister visits Spanish troops deployed in Latvia. 
  • June 10th. ESP CHOD visits Spanish troops deployed in Latvia. 
  • June 9th. eFP 'Latvia' Multinational Battalion concludes live fire exercise 'Crossbow'.  
  • May 31st. eFP Multinational Battalion concludes exercise 'Summer Shield'.
  • April 9th. The minister for Foreign Affairs visits Spanish troops deployed in Latvia. 
  • March 8th. Spanish troops take part in exercise 'Wolverine Strike' to test the defence capabilities of the multinational Battalion.
  • March 1st. Excercise 'ALERTEX' is conducted to test the multinational battalion's response capabilities to an aggression on Latvia.
  • February 15th-19th Spanish troops deployed in Latvia take part in exercise 'Wolverine Forger'.
  • January 14th. The seventh rotation made up from Brigade  ‘Aragón’ I (eFP VIII) begins its tour of duty. The head of the Spanish contingent is LtCol. Luis María Galvache Rodríguez. 

2020

  • July 14th. Sixth handover/takeover (HOTO) in Adazi. 12th Brigade ‘Guadarrama’ (eFP VII) starts its mission.      
  • January 16th: Fifth HOTO of the Spanish contingent takes place. 10th Brigade ‘Guzman el Bueno’ starts its mission. The commander is Lieutenant Colonel Emilio Hermoso Orzáez.

2019

  • July 12th. HOTO of the Spanish contingent is conducted. It is the second time that the 11th Brigade ‘Extremadura’ is deployed in Latvia. Lieutenant Colonel Fernando Ávila Muñoz is the commander of the deployment.
  • January 15th.Relief of Spanish contingent takes place. Lieutenant Coronel Luis Manuel Benéitez Martínez commands eFP IV, composed of personnel from the I Brigade “Aragón” and from the 41st Logistic Support Group (AALOG in Spanish).

2018

  • August 20th. The Battle Group takes part in the 18th Latvian Armed Forces military exercise NAMEJS.
  • July 18th.HOTO between Spanish contingents takes place. eFP III is composed of personnel from the 12th Brigade ‘Guadarrama’, from the 21st Logistic Support Group (AALOG in Spanish), from the Field Artillery Command and from the 21st Signals Regiment.
  • January 15th.HOTO between Spanish contingents is performed. eFP II is composed of personnel from the 10th Brigade ‘Guzman el Bueno’ and from the 41st Logistic Support Group (AALOG in Spanish).

2017

  • November 19th. The Spanish contingent deployed at Adazi participates in the parade that commemorates the Latvian National Holiday.
  • June 19th: a ceremony establishing the Battle Group in Latvia is held.

2016

  • July 9th. During the Warsaw Summit, countries of the Alliance agree to establish Enhanced Forward Presence of defensive and dissuasive nature and with a multinational character, in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

2004

  • March 29th. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania join the Atlantic Alliance.

 

 


EMAD PRESS RELEASES ON NATO'S EFP

  • Delivery of the unit flag

    Handover ceremony for personnel deployed to the NATO mission in Latvia

    Handover ceremony for personnel deployed to the NATO mission in Latvia

    2024/06/13

    At Camp Adazi, Latvia

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  • Spanish personnel participating in the exercise

    The ‘Slovak Shield 24’ drill ends where Spain led a multinational brigade.

    The ‘Slovak Shield 24’ drill ends where Spain led a multinational brigade.

    2024/05/29

    In Lešť, Slovakia

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  • Participating multinational staff

    Personnel from the Spanish contingent deployed in Slovakia participate in the multinational exercise 'Strong Cohesion24'.

    Personnel from the Spanish contingent deployed in Slovakia participate in the multinational exercise 'Strong Cohesion24'.

    2024/04/25

    In Lešť, Slovakia.

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  • Spanish sappers placing a barbed wire obstacle

    ‘Efp Latvia' multinational battlegroup organises the sixth edition of 'Verboom' exercise

    ‘Efp Latvia' multinational battlegroup organises the sixth edition of 'Verboom' exercise

    2024/04/15

    In Adazi, Latvia.

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  • Deployment of Tactical Group Zamora.

    Zamora Tactical Group staff deployed to Slovakia takes part in Charging Bear 24 exercise

    Zamora Tactical Group staff deployed to Slovakia takes part in Charging Bear 24 exercise

    2024/03/28

    In Lést, Eslovaquia

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