Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson today signed the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding alongside counterparts from the eight partner nations.
The agreement marks the end of the establishment of the JEF framework and is a key milestone in preparing the force for action. With the UK at the forefront as the framework nation, the JEF can now deploy over 10,000 personnel from across the nine nations.
Speaking at the event at Lancaster House today Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our commitment today sends a clear message to our allies and adversaries alike – our nations will stand together to meet new and conventional challenges and keep our countries and our citizens safe and secure in an uncertain world.
“We are judged by the company we keep, and while the Kremlin seeks to drive a wedge between allies old and new alike, we stand with the international community united in support of international rules.”
Launched in 2015, the joint force has continued to develop so that it’s able to respond rapidly, anywhere in the world, to meet global challenges and threats ranging from humanitarian assistance to conducting high intensity combat operations.
The JEF, made up of nine northern European allies Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, is more than a simple grouping of military capabilities. It represents the unbreakable partnership between UK and our like-minded northern European allies, born from shared operational experiences and an understanding of the threats and challenges we face today.
In May this year, the JEF demonstrated it readiness with a live capability demonstration on Salisbury Plain. It featured troops from the nine JEF nations, including troops from the UK Parachute Regiment, the Danish Jutland Dragoon Regiment, the Lithuanian “Iron Wolf” Brigade and the Latvian Mechanised Infantry Brigade, which conducted urban combat operations with air support provided by Apaches, Chinooks, Wildcats and Tornados.