NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) will have a greater role in the Alliance in the future – this was stated at a ceremonial staff assembly organized on the occasion of the fifth birthday of NFIU Hungary in Székesfehérvár on Wednesday, 8 September.
Speaking at the celebration, Defence State Secretary István Szabó underlined that Hungary, too, must provide security in Central Europe: we intend to play an active role in strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture. Two excellent examples of this are the Headquarters Multinational Division-Centre (HQ MND-C) and the Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC) to be activated in Hungary.
“We have been members of NATO for more than 20 years, and during this time we have become recognized and reliable members of the Alliance. Five years ago, a capability was generated in Székesfehérvár, which has an effect on the development of national capabilities as well. By establishing the NATO Force Integration Unit in 2016, we have strengthened the security and sovereignty of our country, and demonstrated its commitment as an ally to NATO”, said the defence state secretary.
István Szabó added that Hungary’s aim is to preserve peace and security, the basis of development. He pointed out that the only way for us to achieve it is to rely on our national force, too, rather than exclusively on collective defence, since we can defend the country and meet our allies’ expectations only through the development of the former.
The high-ranking generals who arrived at the ceremony from the North Atlantic Alliance also spoke highly of the performance of the NFIU HUN. Lieutenant General Sławomir Wojciechowski, the commander of Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) said that this celebration showed that the NFIU-related cooperation between Hungary and NATO is not a temporary one. “Your country is an active and valuable member of the North Atlantic Alliance, and the development and progress of your armed forces on all levels is remarkable. I would like to thank the NFIU HUN for its high-level operation, and Hungary for its support”, said the commander.
Brig. Gen. Joar Eidheim, Assistant Chief of Staff J5, NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum (ACOS J5/JFC) pointed out that rapid reaction forces and NFIUs play a significant role in NATO’s new strategy, and their role will continue to increase with the quickly changing security environment. The brigadier general congratulated the NFIU HUN for its performance so far, and noted that its personnel’s dedication and attitude are exemplary.
Lieutenant General Zoltán Mihócza, Chief of Staff, Hungarian Defence Forces Command underlined that the NFIU HUN is among the best ones, since it achieved the highest possible “Excellent” level of certification at this year’s NATO-level evaluation exercise. He emphasized that despite internal structural changes, the leaders of the Hungarian Defence Forces have been able to smoothly cooperate with the NFIU HUN over the past five years.
Colonel István Topor, Commander NFIU HUN stated that although part of the personnel is being continuously replaced due to the character of the organization, their commitment and professional knowledge are unchanged. “The last five years brought many challenges and a lot of joy as well. I thank everybody for the words of appreciation. We would like to show ourselves to the citizens to the greatest possible extent; we would like to see that more and more of them know what we do” – the commander said in closing his speech.
The ceremonial staff assembly ended with the presentation of recognitions and a short concert by the HDF Székesfehérvár Garrison Band.