France has taken over from Turkey in heading up Nato's highest-readiness military task force. The change at the helm comes at a time of heightened concern that Russia may be preparing to invade Ukraine.
France will head up the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) as of 1 January, for one year.
"I thank France for leading Nato’s rapid reaction force in 2022,” said Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a press statement. "The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is a substantial contribution to our collective defense, and France's leadership is a strong display of commitment and capabilities.
"At a time of unprecedented security challenges, there must be no misunderstanding about Nato's resolve: We stand together to defend and protect all allies," Stoltenberg added.
The VJTF is the highest-readiness element of Nato's 40,000-strong Response Force.
The unit was created in 2014 to respond to crises in the Middle East and Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The leadership of the VJTF rotates between Nato members every year, and several countries provide troops for the multi-national force.
In 2022, a 3,500-strong Franco-German brigade will serve as the core of the force, drawing on the 1st Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Hussar Regiment.
Spain, Portugal and Poland will also provide personnel.
Germany will lead the unit in 2023.