The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly wherever needed.

Back in September 2002 during the Prague Summit, US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld proposed the creation of a rapid reaction force. His project was approved in June 2003 by the alliance ministries who met in Brussels, but it gathered momentum only in October 2003, when the Force could count on 9,500 military units.

About one year later, during a NATO countries Defense ministries meeting, a substantial increase in the number of troops available to NRF was announced.

The Force became fully operative in October 2006, with around 21,000 military units. On July 1st, 2005, the Italian Navy took command of the NRF Maritime Component, with Vice Admiral Andrea Toscano; and from 2006 to 2007 with Vice Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi. During this period the Italian Navy led several international exercise (Mare Aperto ’05, Allied Action ’05, Destined Glory, Loyal Midas ’05), passed the NATO inspectors certification checks with highest marks.

The NRF Commander of the Maritime Component in Italy is the commanding Admiral of COMITMARFOR (Comandante della Forza Marittima Italiana, Commander of the Italian Maritime Force) and COMFORAL (Comandante delle Forze d’Altura, Commander of the High Seas Forces). This charge, like the Command of Special Forces Component (SOCC), is taken on a rotation basis and lasts for one year, while the Command of the other Components (land and air) lasts for six months.