1247 GMT May 24, 2019
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement on Thursday as he arrived for the meeting of NATO defense ministers in the Belgian capital city of Brussels.
Soltenberg said he expects the military alliance to agree to “the establishment of two more such headquarters, in Hungary and Slovakia. They will ensure that, our forces can move quickly and effectively if they need to deploy.”
He further noted that the alliance will “give final approval to the military concept for the enhanced NATO Response Force (NFR) – to make it bigger, faster and more capable.”
According to media reports, the NFR, a highly prepared and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special forces units, will be reinforced to comprise up to 40,000 troops.
The current NATO reinforcement is the biggest "since the end of the Cold War," Soltenberg claimed, adding that the military alliance has already set up six small headquarters in Eastern Europe.
Last week, the German weekly, Die Welt am Sonntag, also reported that NATO will open a new expert and training center for what is said to be intelligence and counter-terrorism activities in Poland by the end of this year.
NATO is currently conducting its largest military drills in more than a decade. The war games, involving more than 36,000 troops and civilians, will last until November 6.
The developments come amid heightened tensions between the Western military alliance and Russia.
Russia has repeatedly slammed NATO’s military buildup near its borders, saying such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.
The Moscow-West relations have been extremely tense in recent months over the crisis in Ukraine. The West accuses Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine; an allegation strongly rejected by the Kremlin.