News story

International partners sign Joint Expeditionary Force agreement

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has signed a letter of intent with international partners to develop the Joint Expeditionary Force.

The letter of intent, signed with partners from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway, aims to develop the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) so that it is fully operational before 2018.

The JEF is a pool of high readiness, adaptable forces that is designed to enhance the UK’s ability to respond rapidly, anywhere in the world, with like-minded allies, or on behalf of international organisations such as the UN or NATO.

The UK’s contribution will include the lead commando, airborne, armoured, aviation, air and maritime task groups.

The Defence Secretary said:

I am very pleased that we have signed a letter of intent with our partners to establish the Joint Expeditionary Force.

This will be developed around the UK’s existing high readiness units and will provide a capability that can respond anywhere in the world, in any environment, as part of a coalition, or on behalf of international organisations such as the UN and NATO.

We are stronger together. Our partners from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway have all agreed to attach forces to the JEF when the time is right for us to stand together.

British and Estonian soldiers
A British soldier liaises with an Estonian anti-tank section commander during a NATO training exercise [Picture: Specialist Joshua Leonard]

The signing ceremony took place with all 28 defence ministers in Cardiff aboard HMS Duncan on 4 September at the NATO Summit. During the signing, discussions took place on how the agreement will allow the UK and JEF partners to continue with the excellent operational co-operation that has been achieved to date in places like Afghanistan.

The force will provide the UK’s focus for developing flexible, rapid response forces for NATO, or other coalition operations, to meet together the challenges of an unpredictable world. Through the UK-led JEF, a model for others to follow as well as a focus for fairer defence burden-sharing is being provided.

For the latest updates visit the NATO Summit Wales 2014 page on GOV.UK and @NATOWales on Twitter.

The aim is to create a UK military framework, focused around its existing high readiness capabilities, that its partners can join up with. While it is the UK’s intention to fully integrate the UK’s JEF partners’ contributions before 2018, the JEF could deploy immediately if required.