Nordic Warden increases underwater infrastructure protection in the Baltic Sea

Antti Häkkänen@anttihakkanen

The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is again increasing its presence in the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic to protect critical underwater infrastructure. These areas are particularly vulnerable to threats such as maritime espionage, sabotage, and terrorism, which could disrupt vital communication and energy networks. The British-led JEF boosted its presence in the maritime areas of Northern Europe on June 3. The exercise will continue throughout June, with all ten JEF member countries, – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden – participating.

As a significant part of the ongoing defence initiatives, the Nordic Warden activity sees the armed forces of the JEF countries honing their expertise in protecting underwater infrastructure and maritime traffic. This activity also serves as a platform for developing cooperation capabilities among allies. Nordic Warden builds on JEF’s enhanced monitoring of underwater infrastructure, which was implemented last December in the Baltic Sea.

“In the current security situation, the JEF countries must work and train together, demonstrating their operational readiness, the Minister of Defence of Finland Antti Häkkänen stated.

“One of JEF’s strengths is its flexibility and quick response. We take seriously the protection of underwater critical infrastructure in Northern Europe,” emphasised Häkkänen.

The JEF, fully operational since June 2018, is a defence partnership including ten northern European countries: the UK, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Sweden. It can act independently as soon as two or more of the participating countries identify a requirement and also support NATO or other cooperative ventures.

The Ministry of Defence of Finland explained that Nordic Warden aims to improve JEF’s skills in protecting underwater infrastructure and interoperability.

“The JEF plays an important role in addressing existing threats to critical underwater infrastructure in our neighbourhood. This activity demonstrates once again that the JEF countries are united, coordinated and ready to act,” said the Minister for Defence of Sweden, Pål Jonson.

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