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UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force

Booklet about the JEK


The Joint Expeditionary Force (the JEF) is a pool of high-readiness forces – led by the United Kingdom – from nine countries – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. These countries share a commitment to democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law as well as a long history of operating together. The JEF also shares a concern that Russia’s more aggressive posture since acting against Ukraine in 2014, including persistent malign influence operations designed to weaken western societies, poses a serious challenge to the security of Northern Europe. The JEF’s particular focus is the Baltics and the High North. The members of the JEF combine their strengths by planning, training and operating together continuously. This allows the JEF to counter “sub-threshold” hostile activity, which is meant to avoid triggering a military response, and quickly and effectively to challenge any physical incursion as part of a broader response.







Following the NATO summit in Wales in September 2014, the JEF Partner Nations signed a Foundation Memorandum of Understanding (F-MOU) in London in November 2015 and the JEF was declared at an initial operating capability (IOC). In June 2017 JEF membership grew to nine as Sweden and Finland joined as Partner Nations.


The signing of the Comprehensive MOU (C-MOU) in 2018 marked the completion of the process to establish the JEF, with military strategic relationships firmly established and processes in place to support JEF activation. Beyond full operational capability, the JEF interoperability continue to mature through regular training alongside Partner Nations and Partners Across Government.


In May 2018, the JEF demonstrated its readiness with a live capability demonstration on Salisbury Plain „Joint Warrior 2018.1“ / JEF LIVEX. It featured troops from the nine JEF partner nations, including troops from the UK Parachute Regiment, the Danish Jutland Dragoon Regiment, the Lithuanian “Iron Wolf” Mechanised Brigade and the Latvian Mechanised Infantry Brigade, which conducted urban combat operations with air support provided by Apaches, Chinooks, Wildcats and Tornados.


 Joint Warrior 2018.1“ / JEF LIVEX. Photo credits: Arnas Čemerka (Lithuanian Armed Forces)


In May-June 2019 the Exercise Baltic Protector 2019 marked the first deployment of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force Maritime Task Group. A total of 3,000 military personnel and 17 vessels from nine nations contributed for the first major maritime training deployment of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force. This deployment enabled stability and security within the Baltic Sea region.


Photo credits: UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force


On 28 June 2019, as a final accord of the Exercise Baltic Protector the Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence of the United Kingdom-led Joint Expeditionary Force were all gathered together in an unprecedented format in Klaipėda (Lithuania) to mark the achievements in the year since JEF was declared operational and set the ambition for the upcoming years.





Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis (MoD)

Video of the press conference (by Sgt Spc Lukas Tamošiūnas)


Today Lithuania is contributing a company sized unit to the JEF and a military medical personnel assigned to the UK field hospital. A Lithuanian officer has been serving in the JEF operational headquarters in Northwood, United Kingdom, since early 2016.


The Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania issued the Lithuanian Armed Forces with the mandate to take part in military operations as part of the NATO Response Force, European Union Battle Groups, and the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force. Thus, once there is a political decision, there is also the legal basis to deploy our soldiers at short notice to ensure crisis management.

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Updated on: 2020.06.26
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