History 1 (German/Netherlands) Corps
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, rapid and far-reaching changes have led to adjustments to the European security policy. On the initiative of the Netherlands, the Dutch and German defence ministers decided in 1991 to establish the 1(German/Netherlands) Corps.
As a result of troop reductions, a German Corps and a Dutch Corps amalgamated into one bi-national Corps. With the signing of the three documents in which the actual co- operation was laid down in great detail, the foundation was laid for the inauguration of the 1(German/Netherlands) Corps. The inauguration ceremony took place on 30 August 1995, in the presence of the Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
The Dutch Lieutenant General Ruurd Reitsma became the first commander of this Corps and the German Major General Dr. Günter Freiherr von Steinäcker was appointed deputy commander.
For the first time in European history, two existing corps headquarters amalgamated. Within the new Corps Headquarters, a balanced mixture of German and Dutch personnel manned all ranks and divisions. The fact that a superior officer commands troops from another country already in peacetime, is unique.
About 50 years after the end of the Second World War, the Netherlands and Germany are breaking new ground by working closely together and demonstrating their motto ‘Communitate Valemus’ (together we are strong). Münster, the place where the Peace of Westphalia was concluded in 1648, was intentionally chosen as seat of the Corps, because it is an important city in the history of both nations.
The tasks of the 1(German/Netherlands) Corps included the following: defend NATO territory as unit of the NATO Main Defence Forces; conduct peace operations, operations under the auspices of the UN, as well as humanitarian missions and carry out national tasks, for instance disaster relief during floods.
Tasked to prepare for a NATO High Readiness Force Headquarters (HRF HQ) role, the Corps started the process of transition into a multinational organisation. In November 2002, the Corps met NATO Full Operational Capability (FOC) criteria and was certified to act as a High Readiness Force Headquarters capable of rapid deployment within 20 –30 days as part of a NATO Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF).
The deployment to Afghanistan as HQ ISAF in 2003 was the litmus test for previous conceptual work. Prior to the deployment of 1 (GE/NL) Corps the ISAF mission had been led by a single nation. For the first time, Germany and the Netherlands executed bi- national command and control using procedures derived from the High Readiness Force concept, and subsequently developed further in co-operation with NATO. This provided the essential foundations to create the platform for ISAF to transition into a NATO led mission.
After gaining experience of exercising multinational command and control in peacetime training and on operations across the spectrum of conflict (ranging from humanitarian and peace support operations up to high-intensity conflict), the next step was to further develop as a Land Component Command (LCC) Headquarters as part of the emerging NATO Response Force (NRF) concept.
Following NATO Force Generation in late 2003, internal preparation began early 2004 and 1 (GE/NL) Corps was subordinated for one year to the NATO Joint Forces Command