On August 2 the change of command ceremony of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Lithuania will be held in Rukla. Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Rüdiger Otto has been in command of NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group for six months. He will be replaced by the new rotation Commander Lieutenant Colonel Rene Braun. The ceremony will be attended by Vice Minister of National Defence of Lithuania Vytautas Umbrasas, Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force Brigadier General Valdemaras Rupšys, other military officials, representatives from local authorities.
The incoming commander Lt Col R. Braun started his service in the German Armed Forces in 1997. During the service period, the officer served in various positions, and from September 2017 has been commanding the 393rd Tank Battalion, deployed in Bad Frankenhausene. Lt Col R. Braun served in multinational missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The NATO eFP Battalion Battle Group deployed has been Rukla from the beginning of 2017 is led by Germany. Personnel and weapons to the NATO eFP Battle Group are also contributed by Belgium, the Check Republic, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Iceland. In total, the strength of the multinational unit is roughly 1,200.
The NATO enhanced Forward Presence maintains high readiness and interoperability level through constant training and preparation for collective defence. Based in the Training Regiment in Rukla, the unit is integrated into the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and continually trains in collective defence training and exercises.
Deployment of NATO enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland was a decision of NATO leaders taken in July 2016. The forces are primarily a response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, build-up of military potential and demonstration of military power in the region.