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UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force
Lithuania will be one of the seven countries in establishing the UK-led high-readiness Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). The JEF, designed to meet new challenges in uncertain world, could mean the mobilisation up to 10, 000 troops to tackle crisis.
The Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the JEF was signed by Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and his counterparts from the other participating counties, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK, on November 30 in London. It will allow each country to train and integrate, sharing knowledge and skills.
The Joint Expeditionary Force will be a pool high-readiness forces that can respond quickly to a range of issues, using combat power, conventional deterrence or humanitarian assistance.
“Unpredictability and vulnerability of today’s security environment require for united efforts and prompt actions and the framework of seven like-minded allies is developed to be that reliable and sharp tool to respond to any challenges this group of nations might face”, the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Juozas Olekas said.
“In a world of ever-greater uncertainty and growing threats it is right that the UK plays a leading role in developing this high-readiness force. Building on our pledges made at the NATO Summit, this demonstrates our commitment to crisis management and cooperative security,” Secretary of Defence of the United Kingdom Michael Fallon said.
The JEF is distinct from existing treaty organisations, but can complement other multinational high-readiness intervention forces and can support the activities of the UN, NATO and the EU.
While the core of the JEF will be provided by the United Kingdom, other participating countries will fill in with national capabilities.
The JEF is planned to reach Full Operational Capability by 2018 when national contributions will be fully integrated and the attached capabilities will be balanced out with land, maritime, air and cyber elements that will be adjustable to sa pecific operation or mission.
Lithuania plans contributing a company-sized unit; moreover, a Lithuanian officer will be assigned to the JEF operational headquarters in the United Kingdom as of 2016.
Participation in the JEF will provide Lithuanian troops with additional opportunities for national forces to train in a multi-national environment, sharing knowledge, skills, and, where appropriate and seek better interoperability and operational readiness.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on November 30 builds on the pledges made at the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014 year where seven NATO allies signed a Letter of Intent was signed on the establishment of the Joint Expeditionary Force.
Lithuanian officer begins service at the UK-led Standing Joint Force HQ in Northwood
Lithuanian officer takes up the appointed duties with the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) at the Standing Joint Force HQ (SJFHQ) Northwood. During the service, the Lithuanian officer will coordinate the readiness of Lithuanian military personnel assigned to the JEF to carry out the designated tasks, and to take part in the implementation of the JEF objectives should the need arise.
The Joint Expeditionary Force will be a high readiness rapid response force capable of conducting the full spectrum of operations – from humanitarian assistance and deterrence to combat actions during regional crises. The JEF is planned to reach Full Operational Capability by 2018. Developed in line with NATO standards, the force will be capable of complementing other multinational high-readiness intervention forces and can support the activities of the UN, NATO and the EU.
While the core of the JEF will be provided by the United Kingdom, other participating countries, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Norway, will fill in with national capabilities required for a specific task. The JEF will maintain high readiness through constant training and participation in exercises.
Apart from posting a staff officer to the SJFHQ, Lithuania will contribute an infantry company and a national support element to the JEF.
The Memorandum of Understanding on the formation of the JEF was endorsed by the Defence Ministers of the participating countries on November 30, 2015. The seven NATO allies signed a Letter of Intent on the establishment of the Joint Expeditionary Force at the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014.
This is not the first case of Lithuania’s participation in joint initiatives with the United Kingdom which facilitate cooperation between the two countries. Lithuania assigned the second largest contribution (comprising a company-sized contingent, staff officers, and specialists) to the UK-led European Union Battlegroup (EU BG) which will enter standby in the second semester of 2016. Lithuanian soldiers were also on standby for a corresponding EU BG in 2013. Lithuania will also assign military personnel to the UK-led NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017.
The United Kingdom provided several rotations of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States, posted officers to the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence (NATO ENSEC COE) and the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU), both operating in Lithuania.
Two Lithuanian soldiers are assigned to the UK-based Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). In November 2015 HQ ARRC deployed to Lithuania during Exercise Arrcade Fusion to test NFIU Lithuania.
Lithuanian officers train in JEF exercise in the United Kingdom
From June 27 through July 10 three Lithuanian officers (one officer assigned to the headquarters and two operations and logistics specialists) attend Command Post Exercise (CPX) Joint Venture 2016 in the United Kingdom. The exercise tests the level of readiness of the Standing Joint Force Headquarters of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), including Lithuanian military personnel. Colonel Raimundas Vaikšnoras, Chief of the Operations Command, Joint Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, observed the exercise and met with Lithuanian participants in the UK.
Established in the end of 2015, the Joint Expeditionary Force is led by the United Kingdom-led and manned by six more states: Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway. JEF is composed of land, naval and air components assigned accordingly to the need by the contributing nations. The force is developed to be capable of providing rapid response to a developing crisis in any part of the world, including Eastern Europe. One Lithuanian officer has been serving with the Standing Joint Force Headquarters in Northwood, capable of planning and controlling wide spectrum operations, since this spring.
The UK-led force is a high readiness force that can be deployed to multinational operations led by NATO, UN, or partner states. JEF objective is to complete wide spectrum military operations, including deterrence, combat actions, and humanitarian assistance. Deployment of JEF components is decided by the contributing countries.
Lithuania's contribution to JEF comprises one staff officer, an infantry company (roughly 150 members) and a national support element.
The Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Joint Expeditionary Force was signed in London on 30 November 2015. JEF is planned to reach Full Operational Capability in 2018, and with full integration of national contributions and balance of capabilities with maritime, air and land components, JEF will be ready for deployment to operations. In case of a need, the capabilities may be tailored to specific mission or operation.
Military personnel assigned to JEF will maintain high readiness through training in various JEF training events and exercises.
In Lithuania's approach, JEF is one more reliable rapid response military tool enabling quick reaction to security threats. As part of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, Lithuania builds on military cooperation with other contributing countries, and in particular with United Kingdom. Defence and security cooperation between Lithuania and the UK has become really intense over the past several years.
This is not the first time Lithuania is involved in joint initiatives with the United Kingdom and this way steps cooperation with it. Lithuania has assigned the second largest contribution to the UK-led European Union Battle Group, comprising a company-sized unit, staff officers, and subject-matter specialists, on standby for six months as of this July. Our troops also performed standby for a UK-led EU BG in 2013 as well and are currently getting ready to be assigned to British-led NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017.
Photo credit: organisers of the EX Joint Venture 16