On Monday Latvia and six other countries signed an agreement to create a Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) composed of military contingents from all seven NATO member states.
JEF will be a British led division-sized force consisting of ground troops as well as air and naval units. Its primary objective will be to serve as a quick reaction force capable of acting immediately in case of an imminent threat to any of the member states. In addition to that, it will also serve as a prompt response to natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
British Defence Secretary stated that United Kingdom’s leadership in creating such a force “demonstrates Britain’s commitment to crisis management and cooperative security”. Janis Garrisons, State Secretary of the Latvian Defence Ministry, also spoke highly of the initiative, praising UK’s commitment to regional security and arguing that improving compatibility of armed forces was vital in view of the modern security challenges.
Still, the signing of the agreement is only the first step. There is still long and onerous work ahead to make the force fully operational by 2018.