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from the Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) in London

25 April 2024

Former Standing Joint Force Commander Maj Gen Jim Morris CB DSO RM

Maj Gen Morris with CJO Lt Gen Stickland

Maj Gen Jim Morris with HMA Joanna Roper CMG

End of appointment - huge thanks to the JEF participant nations

As my time as Standing Joint Force Commander draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to pass on my huge thanks to the JEF participant nations for an incredible period of delivery in the Joint Expeditionary Force.

Over the last three years in which I have held this privileged position, I have been able to work closely with all the JEF nations, to better define the role of the JEF. This has seen us operationalise the JEF over the course of the Ex JOINT PPROTECTOR series and develop a JEF operating framework. Little did we realise that Russia would take such aggressive action in its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which has affected all security relations, not just highlighting the role of JEF but also the importance of NATO as the ultimate guarantor of security in Northern Europe. This has seen us plot a closer path with NATO and engage with Allies and Partners who have a vested interest in Northern European Security. Whether working in your home nation Commands or deployed, at the strategic level or enhancing integration at the tactical level, our output across exercises and Joint activities has demonstrated the ever-increasing strength, agility, and unity of the JEF.

In my role, I have had the privilege of traveling to all ten JEF participant nations and had fruitful engagements with high-ranking officials working across the JEF domains in JEF Defences, Diplomacies, Parliaments, Academia’s, as well as your Leaders. Last year we have told the story of how the JEF can link national priorities to NATO planning and provide useful complementary activities. We have developed relevant and credible options that are now being tested. By operating together – whether deploying the HQ to Iceland, the Carrier Strike Group deploying to Gothenburg, Sweden, or activating our first JEF Response Option, I am really proud of all our collective achievements. 

Looking towards the rest of 2024 and onwards, I wish my successor Maj Gen Tom Bateman ongoing success, as you all continue to develop, adapt, and learn, extending our horizons to lead the JEF’s long-term future under the vision announced by our Leaders last October. You are at the heart of delivering this vision, and I very much look forward to seeing the JEF continue to grow and expand in the coming years.

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Maj Gen Bateman takes office as SJFC

Standing Joint Force Commander 

Major General T J Bateman CBE

Major General Tom Bateman takes office as SJFC

Major General Tom Bateman joined an Armoured Regiment (the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards) in 1995 and completed multiple tours of the Balkans in the Armoured, Formation Reconnaissance and dismounted roles. His career as a subaltern concluded with a tour to East Timor as a UN Military Observer (UNMO) and as an SO3 in the General Staff in the MOD.

Highlights at staff were his time as Chief of Staff of 7 Armoured Brigade (deployment to Iraq), Military Assistant (MA) to Deputy Chief Defence Staff (Operations) in the MOD and then as MA to Deputy Commander ISAF Afghanistan. Subsequently, after promotion to Colonel, he was Chief of Staff of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Headquarters in Syria and Iraq and returned to the MOD as the Assistant Head responsible for Op SHADER and Countering Violent Extremist Organisations. He has completed both the Advanced and Higher Command and Staff Courses. Finally, he was Assistant Chief of Staff J3 at the Permanent Joint Headquarters covering the UK’s global operations including the Carrier Strike Group 21, the NEO from Kabul and the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

He commanded the Royal Dragoon Guards (an Irish / Yorkshire Regiment) 2013-2015 as they converted to Armoured Cavalry. From 2018-2020 he commanded 11 Infantry Brigade where he led on Counter-Poaching Operations, British Forces in Brunei and was the Joint Military Commander for the South-East of England through BREXIT and early months of the national COVID-19 response.

Most recently he was General Officer Commanding the 1st (United Kingdom) Division of the British Army (2022-2024) where he revitalised the deployable nature of the HQ in preparation for its role as the first 2* Land Component Command for the NATO Allied Response Force. He took command of the Standing Joint Force HQ Group in April 2024.

Married to Polly, together they have a son called Harry. He is the Founder of The Global Charge (a movement to encourage everyone to invest in their personal conservation and sustainability legacy). Hobbies include clay target shooting, hockey, diving, fencing, and horse-riding if time permits.

The launch of JEFnations.org

The Joint Expeditionary Force has launched an Official Website on JEFnations.org. This is the first website dedicated to the defence framework and contains official information about the JEF, events and engagements.

Click here to check out the new JEFnations website

JEFnations.org Official Website of the Joint Expeditionary Force

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson

Swedish flag raised at NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) during flag ceremony at Northwood Headquarters

Sweden’s NATO accession and its implications for the JEF

- from the Swedish DA’s desk in London

For over two centuries, nonalignment has been woven into the fabric of Sweden’s national identity, shaping its culture and self-perception. Altering such a deep-seated stance is no small feat. Yet, Sweden has recently transitioned to become a member of NATO, marking a significant shift in its defence strategy. While this might seem a drastic move, for many Swedes, the transition was somewhat anticipated. The longstanding belief in the sufficiency of nonalignment for national defence has gradually diminished. The realization that Sweden was neither truly neutral nor sufficiently powerful to defend itself alone has reshaped public opinion. Moreover, neutrality may not have been the sole reason for Sweden’s prolonged peace. Political momentum for joining NATO had been building, and the catalyst came with Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and Finland’s simultaneous bid for NATO membership.


Sweden’s integration into NATO brings substantial benefits to the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). As a NATO member, Sweden now shares equal access to intelligence and seamlessly integrates into NATO’s strategic plans, enhancing interoperability among the members. The JEF, designed to maintain peace and prevent conflict escalation, now finds itself better positioned in adverse scenarios, facilitating a smoother transition of authority to NATO if required. This underscores that JEF is complementary with NATO. Sweden’s membership not only strengthens its own security—it also fortifies NATO and enhances the operational efficacy of the JEF, presenting a formidable front to adversaries.

Per Appelkvist is the Swedish Defence Attaché to the United Kingdom & Ireland.

JEF and allies prove seamless layered air defence of NATO’s northern Flank

A new air defence collaboration between JEF nations and North American allies, Exercise GLOBAL GUARDIAN, is testing the ability of European nations to work together to defend NATO’s northern flank, protecting reinforcement routes while adding depth to the layered defence of North America.

A key response to any serious threat to peace and stability in Europe would be rapid reinforcement from North America, which underwrites NATO’s Article V guarantee of mutual defence. 

Global Guardian

In February, and for the first time, the JEF joined the US Air Force on GLOBAL GUARDIAN to test the ability of allied nations to detect and intercept hostile aircraft across the High North of Europe and North Atlantic. 

Much like the baton in a 4,000-mile relay race, a force of B-1B bombers from the USAF’s Force Bomber Task Force (BTF) was continuously intercepted, escorted and handed over between quick response alert (QRA) aircraft from nine JEF nations. 

Without prior warning, aircraft from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and UK were scrambled as the BTF was detected and tracked along a routine flight between Sweden and home bases in the USA on Thursday, 29 February. 

Critical to the success of this multi-faceted activity was the cooperation between ground-based radar stations and command centres across mainland Europe, Iceland and the United Kingdom, including NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany. 

Detecting and tracking the ‘target’ while guiding in their own intercepting aircraft, these ground-based facilities proved their worth in countering any threat from an adversary’s Long-Range Aviation (LRA). 

Coordinating diverse contributions into a unified response 

GLOBAL GUARDIAN also demonstrates the depth and diverse nature of the multilateral JEF responses being coordinated into a defensive whole. 

Aircraft ranged from Typhoons from the UK to Saab Gripens from Sweden and F-18s from Finland. Also taking part were F-35B aircraft launched from the flight deck of the Royal Navy’s HMS Prince of Wales, which was taking part in Ex JOINT WARRIOR, the massive NATO maritime exercise being conducted at the same time.  

This was also the first exercise of its kind in which Sweden had participated since its accession to NATO was confirmed on 26 February. 

GLOBAL GUARDIAN also demonstrated the pivotal role played by all allies, including Iceland, which provides both a key link in a chain of radar cover in the High North and secure airfields which are used for air policing. 

Successfully bringing together these diverse elements also proved that the JEF contributes to Globally Integrated Layered Defence, providing forward defence in depth to the north American landmass. 

A regular addition to the JEF exercise calendar  

Set to become a regular fixture, GLOBAL GUARDIAN will continue to use routine BTF flights to enhance multinational and multi-agency cooperation between the JEF, NATO and USA and protect stability and security in northern Europe.

ACOS J35 SJFHQ - JEF Director of Communications

JEF Director of Communications Gp Capt Kevin Latchman, Assistant Chief of Staff at SJFHQ, the JEF Operational Headquarters

The power of collaboration – JEF ‘Plus’

In the past year, the Joint Expeditionary Force has been synchronising extensively with NATO on all levels, to make sure that the JEF and NATO are fully aligned and the JEF complements NATO‘s efforts in delivering deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic Region. This is true for activity conducted in peacetime as well as ensuring we can respond during a crisis. This has involved working closely with NATO‘s Joint Force Commands in Brunssum, Netherlands and Norfolk, Virginia, and aligning our strategic communications procedures to NATO‘s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium. However, the story doesn‘t end there. While we consider NATO the ultimate guarantor of security, there are other important non-JEF stakeholders who are working hard to support NATO aims and objectives.

As such, we are increasingly working with other non-JEF entities who have shared objectives. Among those are US Europe Command, US NORAD with whom we have been coordinating Ex Global Guardian strategic communication campaign within the JEF participant nations, Deu MarFor, an important stakeholder in the Baltic Sea region, and the Canadian Armed Forces who have an important bilateral relationship with Latvia. The JEF is all about maximising the collaborative effects of all those partners‘ efforts in making Europe a safer place. We all care about unity and cohesion of our friends and neighbours, allies and partners. And we want to deter malign activity in our region and ultimately prevent crises and conflict. We will continue to reach out beyond the immediate 10 nations to collaborate and share information – this is anecodotally known as JEF ‘Plus‘.

JEF Defence Ministers convened

JEF Defence Ministers and nominated representatives convened virtually on the 12th March to discuss key security issues affecting the JEF and its nations. The meeting was held over JEFNET and marked the first use of the platform for this kind of engagement. A large part of the discussion was focused on JEF & Ukraine, with the UK inviting genuine views on what more JEF could do in this space. It was voiced that while NATO membership was not practical at this time, there was a definite sense that more could and should be done in support and that our nations should explore a full suite of support options available to us.

Following this, Standing Joint Forces Commander Maj Gen Jim Morris provided a review into JRO 3.2 and the effects witnessed from this activity. With this, Gen Morris noted that the activation of a JRO for the first time signified a real coming of age moment for the JEF, and a tangible demonstration of our ability of the framework to coordinate operational level effects. The meeting concluded with a forward look to the next in-person JEF Defence Ministers meeting hosted by the UK in June.

JEF Defence Ministers met in Amsterdam in June 2023

FIN SWE Nordic Response 24

Finnish and Swedish forces on Nordic Response 24 – JEF Nations working together


During NORDIC RESPONSE 24 a media specialist from the JEF Operational Headquarters deployed to the NATO Media Information Centre (NMIC) in Alta, Norway. The focus for attending was to identify how the JEF can employ a similar structured media information centre during JEF response options and activities.

As the JEF builds on from its first JRO activation at the end of 2023, the Operational Headquarters is reviewing how it can enhance its media capabilities through 2024. The NMIC ran by Norwegian Joint Task Force, demonstrated the usefulness of a media focal point when large numbers of news media representatives are anticipated to cover military activities.

Activities for upcoming years solidified

The JEF planning alignment working group convened at the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters in Stockholm 16-17 April to plan activities for upcoming years. Representatives from all JEF participant nations contributed to the planning process and had fruitful discussions on how the JEF could maximise its impact in the region, demonstrating deterrence towards its adversaries while supporting NATO efforts and other global allies and partners.

JEF Planning Alignment Working Group mtg

Representatives from all JEF participant nations convened in Stockholm to solidify activities for upcoming years.

Logistics procedures aligned

The United Kingdom had the pleasure of hosting our colleagues from the JEF participant nations at the Logistic Working Group on 22 Feb 24. Situated at the Ministry of Defence in London, the one-day event focussed on identifying ways in which the working group could enhance interoperability, exploit training opportunities, and develop wider understanding of national priorities within the logistic function.

A significant focus of the meeting related to the need to ensure JEF was complementary and interoperable with NATO activity, and an excellent brief from NATO Joint Support and Enabling Command, confirmed the need for attendance of NATO representatives at all future events. It was agreed that a JEF Logistics Study event will be held during Ex JOINT PROTECTOR 24 in Latvia. As with any collaboration, identification of responsibility is critical, and as such the development of the Mutual Logistic Support Agreement was a key part of the agenda; a concise but clear brief from Defence Support gave a timely update on progress on this key topic and the expected path going forward. 

What can unquestionably be viewed as the takeaway from the event, is that minds were aligned on the challenges the JEF faces, how threats are likely to emerge and notably from where. There is a need for robust and timely intervention within the Logistic area of responsibility to best position ourselves to create the conditions, where we as the JEF can assure the preservation and protection of our teams, our communities and shared national values.

EX COCKNEY CHUTE - the ski trips of all ski trips!

Adventurous Training (AT) should always have an arduous element involved. Indeed, even in the planning stage, Exercise COCKNEY CHUTE was very arduous with multiple handovers of responsibility and then significant logistical challenges during execution. With sheer grit and determination from the J6 team within SJFHQ, the exercise was a resounding success. Ultimately, COCKNEY CHUTE epitomised the JEF journey attempting to navigate policy, governance, finance and resource – and delivered something special to all involved.

The agility and resourcefulness of the planning team paid off and resulted in students and instructors arriving in La Plagne nested within the French Alps - one of the biggest and best purpose-built high-altitude resorts, it had the terrain to suit all levels and abilities. Moreover, the self-catering accommodation with ready access to the ski lifts was simply outstanding. 

With a range of abilities and skills, the exercise split into 4 groups from people who had never skied in Ski Foundation 1 (SF1) or those who had accumulated far too many days on the mountain heading for SF3. Adventurous Training (AT) contributes to operational capability and encourages leadership at all levels. Alongside physical training and sport, it helps to develop fortitude, rigour and initiative, while offering respite from work and other pressures. COCKNEY CHUTE supported all of these outcomes and more from trusting the cooking abilities of colleagues, to sharing hot drinks at the top of the mountain in awful weather. 

Overall, It was difficult – some damaged limbs and faces can attest to this. It was arduous – first lift and last lift of the day for most of the groups with up to 30km covered in some days. The respite from work, after a busy JEF period, Op CHAMBRAY and Op LAZURITE, was very welcome.

The trip to La Plagne with the Officers and Soldiers of Standing Joint Force Headquarters, including a significant multinational contingent, was a great week away. The team came together to enjoy a week of slips, trips, and falls on the snow, forging new relationships, developing tan lines no one can explain, but most importantly overcoming fears we didn't know we had. We look forward to the busy period ahead and the next opportunity to get on the snow.

Previous newsletters

Click here to view the first JEF Newsletter issued in September 2023

Click here to view the second JEF Newsletter issued in November 2023

Click here to view the third JEF Newsletter issued in February 2024

Upcoming JEF events and activities

The JEF OF5 Steering Group meets end of April in London.

The JEF 2* Pol Mil meeting takes place in Reykjavik in May.

The Medical Working Group meets beginning of May in London.

The Land Working Group meets in May in London.

JEF Activities:

Exercise ARCTIC DOLPHIN a Norwegian-led maritime task group exercise in February 2024.

Exercise TAMBER SHIELD is a Naval Anti-Surface Warfare activity in vicinity of Bergen, featuring the UK Royal Navy's patrol boats & helicopters, and Norwegian patrol boats & a frigate in April 2024.

Exercise BOREALIS is an amphibious exercise in Gothenburg Archipelago with British and Swedish Marines in April and May 2024.

1ATF Baltic Deployment involves British Aviation Task Force deploying via Denmark and Sweden to Finland, and will take part in Exercise ARROW before joining the NATO exercise programme. This activity runs from April to June.

The Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) in London operates the Joint Expeditionary Force, as UK is the framework nation.

About the JEF

The Joint Expeditionary Force was formally launched as a NATO initiative at the September 2014 Wales Summit, under the then new “Framework Nations Concept”.

The JEF is a framework of ten like-minded Northern European nations focused on mutual support and cooperation. By collaborating, training, and operating together, JEF enhances collective capability and develops interoperability. In turn, through persistent activity and signature exercises, the JEF demonstrates its readiness to act as a collective and whilst being prepared to support NATO as the ultimate security guarantor for the region.

The JEF Participant Nations are: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK which is the Framework Nation.

Nine of the JEF Participant Nations are also members of NATO, with Finland as the most recent Member State. Sweden's path to joining NATO was established at the NATO Vilnius Summit on 11-12 July 2023.

All JEF Participant Nations have a Liaison Officer embedded into the Standing Joint Force Headquarters in Northwood, London.

The JEF in pictures

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Copyright Disclaimer: Unless specified, photos published in this newsletter have either been provided by the JEF participant nations' Governments, are available under the terms of the Open Government License, have previously been published on JEFNations Social Media channels, and/or fall under the UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023, published on UK Defence Imagery.