A senior NATO official says the alliance's new rapid-reaction "spearhead" force meant as a deterrent to Russian aggression should be up and running with initial capabilities in less than a year.

Speaking to The Associated Press on the sidelines of a symposium at a NATO facility in Poland, Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said Thursday specific details on the 4,000 to 5,000 troop force should be ready for approval by a February defense ministers meeting.

Vershbow, the high-ranking U.S. civilian at NATO, says "there's an expectation we will have at least an initial capacity with this much more rapid response time in less than a year from the Wales summit" in early September.