Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office
After long preparation, the final phase of this year's NATO exercise Brilliant Jump has finally gained momentum. After the first alert exercises in January this year, and the maritime part conducted in the waters off Scotland from late September till early October, now the deployment of NATO's land-bound Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is underway in Lithuania.
As part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), the VJTF is regularly activated to demonstrate the readiness of the Alliance and exercise the military capabilities of NATO to quickly react to any given crises scenario that might jeopardise the security and sovereignty of its members.
As with the maritime phase, the aim of the exercise is to train the capability of the Force to move to a designated area in a defined time-frame and to be ready to fulfil its tasks on arrival.
Brilliant Jump is annually alternating between the two European Joint Forces Commands in Naples and Brunssum, with rotating units assigned to the VJTF. This year, it's Brunssum's turn to lead, and the core unit is the Polish 21st Mountain Brigade, stationed in the region of Podhale in the south of Poland.
Reinforced by a Spanish Infantry Battalion, a Czech Mechanised Battalion, a Lithuanian Mechanised Infantry Company, and additional Polish units, the Polish VJTF Brigade is now on the way to the Lithuanian Military Training Area, Pabrade. The Lithuanian Armed Forces, as the Host Nation of the exercise, support their NATO Allies logistically.
While the Polish and Czech troops deploy via road and rail from their home bases and staging areas, the Spanish troops arrived by plane, their vehicles and equipment being shipped from Bilboa to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.
One important aspect of Brilliant Jump is to train the multinational cooperation among NATO partners. Or, as the deputy Commander of the Polish Brigade, Colonel Izabela Wlizło, put it:
‘It is very important to work together, showing solidarity and unity, and the readiness of NATO Forces to support each other.’
Solidarity, in this case with NATO partners on the eastern flank of the Alliance, also works in times of global pandemic. Throughout such a challenge, NATO has to prove that the Alliance is capable of operating professionally, of course taking precautionary measures and observing the COVID restrictions imposed by host nations.