Forces: March 12, 2001


: NATO had planned to announce the selection of three High Readiness Corps and six Medium Readiness Corps by last December, but politics has complicated the decision which is now expected next May. It is entirely possible that four or five of the nine headquarters will be designated as High Readiness because of key member nations demanding this status. The nine remaining candidates are:

1. Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps: commanded by the UK, this is a sure bet.

2. EuroCorps (French, German, Spanish, Belgian, and Luxembourgian troops).

3. 1st Dutch-German Corps

4. Multi-National Corps Northwest (German, Danish, and Polish troops)

5. An Italian Corps

6. A Greek Corps

7. A Spanish Corps

8 and 9: Two corps from Turkey (one of which will be Medium Readiness).

The US V Corps and German 2nd Corps (and a low-readiness Corps from Greece) have withdrawn from the selection process. The challenges to create these corps are huge, including:

1. There must be enough combat troops to turn a headquarters into a true fighting corps. Not all of the corps have enough troops, or the right kind of troops.

2. Very few of the offered units have the capability to deploy outside of their home country.

3. Specialized support units (signals, medical, aviation, supply) must be found, and nations must be willing to put them on the line. For example, if the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps were actually to deploy, the rest of the British Army would be out of business as all of the specialized support units for their entire establishment are needed to support the ACE RRC. 

4. Each corps will require 100 senior officers permanently assigned to that corps headquarters. Finding enough qualified personnel could take over a year and the armies giving them up will have to train and promote other officers to fill their current jobs. --Stephen V Cole


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