NATO command centres in Lithuania and five other Eastern European countries are set to be established in the coming summer, and allied training events will be stepped up in the Baltic states, a NATO general said in Vilnius on Tuesday.
General Hans-Lothar Domrose and Defence Minister Juozas Olekas

General Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, said around 40 officers would work at the command centre, alternatively known as NATO force integration unit.

"I think that we are going to establish these units this summer and I think we should be ready this year," he told journalists in Vilnius.

Similar NATO centres will be established in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

"The concept is that we will have a team of about 40 officers and NCOs - as a non-commissioned officers. They should come from all across NATO. Roughly, it is 50 percent coming from the host nation and 50 percent from the other 27 nations," Domrose said in Vilnius.

"They will report most likely to my headquarters or to the Szczecin headquarters, and then to SACEUR. We are all working for SACEUR for NATO. So, it is the end of the NATO chain of command in a country," said the general.

"If I may, compare this with a hotel. This NFIU is a reception team. You go into a hotel, you wanna book a room, there is always this wonderful lady that says: Welcome to the hotel. The NFIU is a team that says: welcome to Lithuania, everything is prepared, here is the exercises, here is water, here is food, here is ammunition, off we go," Domrose noted.

Asked by BNS whether NATO plans to intensify its exercises in the Baltic region and whether NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force could attend, the NATO general gave a positive answer but refused to elaborate.

"We will always be better tomorrow than we are today. We are striving and aiming high, there will be good exercise, I assure you," said Domrose.

The NATO general said the meetings with Lithuanian army leaders also addressed the possible prepositioning of equipment, adding that an agreement is first needed between specific states.

BNS
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