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Standby High-Readiness Brigade

The Standby High-Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG) is the standing military force of the United Nations. Its permanent headquarters is in Copenhagen in Denmark. It was declared ready for operations on January 1, 2000, and deployed to the Horn of Africa in November 2000 to form the core of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) under the command of Royal Netherlands Marine Corps[?] Major General Patrick Cammaert[?]. The Brigade returned from that mission six months later and began a training cycle. It announced that it would again be ready for action as of January 1, 2002. Cammaert's appointment currently expired in November, 2002, but has been extended once already.

The Brigade comprises a number of troops varying between four and five thousand, drawn from units pledged by eleven countries: Argentina, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Sweden. The nations that contribute to SHIRBRIG have the right to opt out of any operation. For example, when the UNMEE was formed, Argentina and Romania opted out for financial reasons.

The Brigade expects to operate independently at a considerable distance from support for up to 60 days. It stands ready for deployment from point of embarkation at 15 to 30 days notice. Its deployment will be limited to six months duration, after which the mission will either be terminated or other forces will replace the Brigade.

The unit has a Web site at http://www.shirbrig.dk.

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