JEF – partnership for regional security
The defence ministers and supreme commanders from the nations of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) met in Klaipėda, Lithuania, on 28 June. Sweden was represented by Policy Director Johan Lagerlöf and Chief of Defence Staff of the Swedish Armed Forces Jonas Haggren.
The meeting was held to mark the end of Baltic Protector, a JEF maritime exercise that has been in progress in Denmark, Sweden, the southern Baltic and the Baltic States since 24 May, and to which Sweden contributed two Visby-class corvettes. The exercise had a clear focus on regional security, on demonstrating that the JEF nations are able to cooperate to support each other in different scenarios, and on carrying out a variety of tasks independently or in cooperation with multinational organisations such as the UN, the EU or NATO.
JEF – partnership with operational capability
The meeting in Klaipėda also highlighted that the JEF reached full operational capability one year ago, in June 2018. The ministers and supreme commanders held roundtable discussions aboard UK flagship HMS Albion to discuss the development of the JEF.
JEK was initiated as a UK resource pool comprising task groups from all the armed forces. Today the JEF comprises Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. The participating nations decide independently, on a case-by-case basis, and in line with national decisions-making processes, whether and how to take part in exercises or military operations.
Countering increased Russian activity
In recent years and in different contexts, Russia has shown a capability to concentrate its forces, quickly and without warning, and to carry out complex operations in its immediate vicinity. New offensive weapon systems in Kaliningrad and in western Russia have increased the importance of exercises to ensure the ability to cooperate militarily between the countries of the Baltic Sea region.
The Joint Expeditionary Force
The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is a British-led force consisting of the UK, the Nordic and Baltic countries and the Netherlands. As required, it is intended to be able to act independently or as part of a UN, NATO or EU operation, and can involve units from all of the armed forces. Units are selected and included depending on the operation to be undertaken. The participating nations decide in each case whether and how they wish to take part in an operation. Sweden joined the JEF in June 2017.
Baltic Protector is a maritime exercise that was conducted in Denmark, the southern Baltic and the Baltic States in May and June 2019, involving around 3 000 soldiers and some 20 warships from all JEF nations. Sweden contributed two Visby-class corvettes to the second phase of the JEF exercise, which was conducted as part of the parallel Baltops 2019 maritime exercise.