A Rapid deployment force is a military formation capable of quick deployment of its forces. Such forces typically consist of elite military units (special ops, paratroopers, marines, etc.) and are usually trained at a higher intensity than the rest of their country's military. They usually receive priority in equipment and training to prepare them for their mission. Quick Response Force (QRF) should not be confused with Rapid Deployment Forces (US) or Rapid Response (NATO). QRF units are most often units that react to local or regional issues within their area of jurisdiction, i.e. National Guard, militias, Forward Deployed, para-military forces, etc.
Rapid Deployment Forces in most militaries are used for deployment outside of their country's borders. The US Army's 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment are the best examples of Rapid Deployment Forces. Both units have the mission of having combat troops "Wheels Up" (en route by aircraft) within 18 hours of executive notification. Both units have the capability of "Forced Entry" into a territory to seize and secure key terrain, i.e. Drop Zone (DZ), airfield or airport, to accommodate additional follow on forces. A good example of this was the Operation Urgent Fury. The Rangers were at the staging base in Barbados in less than 18 hours from notification followed by the 82nd Airborne Division. The title of Rapid Deployment Forces is often associated with the US Marines. United States Marine Corps are stationed worldwide on ships, off the coasts of troubled regions and are already in place. That mission status usually places them into the category of "Forward Deployed" in the same manner as the 2nd Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is forward deployed on the DMZ.
Examples of Rapid Deployment Forces include:
- Helsinki Headline Goal Force Catalogue
- European Union Battlegroups
- Joint Rapid Reaction Force
- XVIII Airborne Corps (United States)
- United States Army Rangers
- NATO Response Force
- / Airborne Troops (VDV)
- Finnish Rapid Deployment Force (FRDF)
- French Foreign Legion - 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
- Ghana Rapid Deployment Force (GRDF)
- Norwegian Telemark Battalion
- 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade
- Netherlands Marine Corps
- Rapid Reaction Brigade
- Argentine Rapid Deployment Force (FDR)
- Rapid Deployment Force (FUDRA)
- 10 Paratrooper Brigade (Malaysia)
- Singapore Guards
- Air Mobile Brigade
- UNPROFOR's Rapid Reaction Force, consisting of TF Alpha, TF Bravo, and the 24th Airmobile Brigade in the last years of the Bosnian war of 1992-95.
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