Minister: JEF crucial to Estonia's defense

Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (third from left) at the meeting of JEF defense ministers in Amsterdam, June 13, 2023.
Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (third from left) at the meeting of JEF defense ministers in Amsterdam, June 13, 2023. Source: Ministry of Defense

The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a British-led maritime endeavor, is a vital pillar of Estonia's defense and security, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.

"The JEF plays a key role in providing protection and deterrence via its military readiness and rapid response capabilities," Pevkur said Tuesday, following a meeting of the organization in Amsterdam.

"The table-top exercise confirmed that the defense ministers of the JEF member states hold very similar understandings of the speed and content required of the necessary decisions," the minister went on, per a press release.

The table-top exercise, almost a political version of a wargame, rehearsed the JEF's role in peacetime crisis escalation, as well as the transition to supporting NATO activities, with the focus on the North Sea and the Baltic regions.

"The aim of the decisions made at the political level is to enhance mutual military cooperation, in order to respond quickly enough to threats against critically important submarine and offshore infrastructure," Pevkur went on.

"The JEF's strength lies in its ability to quickly react militarily and, where necessary, in member states supporting each other through military aid, thereby send a clear message of deterrence to an enemy."

The defense ministers meeting also focused on military assistance provided to Ukraine, the future vision of the JEF, and its role in dealing with hybrid threats.

A joint statement from the participating defense ministers was also approved.

Minister Pevkur also met one-on-one with his British opposite number, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

The JEF is U.K.-led and incorporates the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, as well as Estonia.

Once the JEF is activated, the U.K. provides the necessary command and force elements, and member states supplement these via their own capabilities.

The JEF's focus areas are the Baltic Sea region, the Far North and the North Atlantic region.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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