The Defence Ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) have decided to activate a JEF Response Option, which includes enhanced surveillance of critical underwater infrastructure. The activity will take place in early December and is intended to increase surveillance and presence in cooperation with NATO, which also carries out similar missions in the Baltic Sea region.
"Underwater infrastructure such as communications cables and energy piplines can be extremely vulnerable to sabotage, as we have witnessed this year. Iceland relies heavily on this critical infrastructure and therefore this JEF capability is important for us, just like other participating nations," says Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Over the past year, JEF has been developing a series of JEF Response Options aimed at strengthening deterrence and response capabilities to a wide range of security challenges. This is the first time such a Response Option has been put to the test and demonstrates concretely the contribution of the JEF to the security of Northern Europe, especially the security of critical undersea infrastructure and action against hybrid threats. Iceland contributes with civilian information officers from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Icelandic Coast Guard, who will be working at the JEF Headquarters in the UK.
JEF is a group of like-minded Northern European countries cooperating on security and defence with a focus on the Arctic, the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea Region. The JEF combines the strengths of ten nations by planning, training, and operating together continuously, and is intended to support other multinational defence cooperation, including NATO. The participating countries also hold regular and effective security political consultations.