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Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied Command Europe, greets NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Dec. 2, 2014. NATO photo.

NATO announced Tuesday that an interim “Spearhead Force” will be operational next year as part of the Alliance’s efforts to improve readiness and assure eastern allies following Russia’s recent aggression in Ukraine, according to a Dec. 2 release. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the plus up is “the biggest increase in our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.” He added that the readiness action plan enables NATO “to meet any threats from wherever they come.” The interim force will primarily be made up of troops based in Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway, although all 28 countries “will contribute to this effort into the next year.” The Spearhead Force will “provide the quick reaction capability we need, straight away,” added Stoltenberg. NATO defense ministers are slated to decide the full size and design of the force in February, and the “aim is to stand it up in 2016,” states the release. “So, we will be 28 for 28 through 2015 to assure allies and to deter threats,” said Stoltenberg. (See also Pentagon Welcomes Proposed New NATO Force to Counter Russian Threats.)