The Joint Expeditionary Force – Defending Security across Northern Europe

03 Aug 23

Joint Expeditionary Force

“Created to counter the growing European and global tension that threatens our security and prosperity, the JEF is a clear demonstration of our combined resolve to deter our adversaries, contribute to international security and ensure regional stability.”
– Admiral Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff

A powerful security initiative bringing together a full range of military and governmental capabilities from across northern Europe, the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is a framework structure designed to generate, at short notice, a multinational force, operating to NATO standards and doctrine, that can operate as a scalable joint force package. Its primary purpose is to support a credible and capable response to deter or defeat malign acts aimed at member nations; and to provide reassurance to those nations.

Since its inception at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, the JEF has developed into a highly responsive, operational framework which enables national military forces to come together under a JEF banner, across the full spectrum of activities from exercises and persistent deterrence, through humanitarian aid, to warfighting. At all points, JEF activity aims to be complementary to NATO.

The JEF is also an acknowledgement of the changing nature of warfare, where lines between peace and war are no longer clear. Adversaries are using new, hard-to-detect and deniable means to undermine the West, so the JEF offers a multi-lateral response option to meet challenges in this ‘grey zone’, below the level of conflict and complementary to NATO.

The JEF consists of 10 members, or Participant Nations: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. As the NATO-designated framework nation, the UK coordinates JEF activities.

The core areas of interest of the JEF reflect its membership; the High North, North Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea regions. The military, security and political challenges in these areas demand active management across institutional boundaries and close multinational cooperation; and the JEF can provide, where necessary, a platform for that integration.

The ultimate guarantor of European security is NATO, but where the JEF adds value lies in the freedom of Participant Nations to opt into any proposed military response, contributing forces and capabilities without the need to reach a 10-member consensus. This allows the JEF to surge quickly and, where required, shape the ground. Ideally, this activity alone would be enough to deter further malign activity and defuse a crisis.

Located in Northwood, near London and headed by the two-star Standing Joint Force Commander, the operational JEF Headquarters coordinates JEF activities and provides planning and coordinating functions, with associated strategic communications.

Last updated Aug 23