UK Joint Expeditionary Force validated, will become fully operational in 2018

On 10 May, military affairs observer Jane's reported that on 5 May the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) completed the "Joint Warrior" validation exercise marking the final preparatory stage JEF undergoes before it becomes fully operational later this year.

The eight European countries making their forces available to the UK-led initiative are Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The JEF is a NATO-approved UK framework nation initiative akin to the German-led Framework Nation Concept. It brings under British command one high-readiness unit from each of the partner states with the goal of creating a readily deployable intervention force for high-intensity operations. The announced progress is key because, along with UK's willingness to participate in the French-led European Intervention Initiative, it proves that London's defence cooperation with Europe can surmount the absence of an EU-UK post-Brexit defence agreement. This can be achieved under such multilateral, or even bilateral formats. Secondly, JEF's involvement of all three Baltic States means that the UK, already leading a NATO battlegroup in Estonia, will be even more ready to defend its Baltic allies should the Alliance's deterrence tripwire policy fails to contain Russia's revisionism. Finally, JEF has three Arctic Council members in its ranks, two of whom - Finland and Sweden are non-NATO members neighbouring Russia and seeking to strengthen their ties with the Alliance.

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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