Franco-British Combined Joint Expeditionary Force: structure, aims and pitfalls

Soldiers of the First Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment from 4th Mechanized Brigade, are pictured training with the 2nd Regiment the French Foreign Legion.

British and French soldiers line of attack training during exercise Border Storm, Otterburn ranges in Northumberland – photo:  © Crown Copyright 2014 / photographer: Sgt Brian Gamble

Nearly five years delayed France and the UK announced full operational capability of their Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) of 10.000 soldiers. An aim which was originally foreseen for 2016 according to the CJEF user guide. The CJEF based on the Lancaster House agreements from 2010 between London and Paris for an enhanced defence cooperation between both countries. CJEFs defining characteristic is that of a first-entry force for a bilateral or multilateral coalition of the willing. A force which intervenes first into a theatre, dedicated to enable the secure in flow of other forces and logistics to continue an operation. The leitmotiv for its buildup was to create a tool for intervention in the European rimlands if the US doesn’t want to act. 

The CJEF: antithesis to French-German defence cooperation

CJEF is designed as an ad-hoc force on NATOs lead nation concept (70 % of staff, material etc. from the nation in lead, 30% from the partner) and works basically as follows: In case of an international crises the French (Conseil Restreint) and British (National Security Council) planning staffs on the political level will seek common ground. If they activated CJEF, the countries defence staffs will decide on the role of the lead nation (operation commander, C2 structure etc.). The army in lead will establish and host a „Crises Contingency Team“ which develops to an „Operations and Planning Group“ with ten to forty staffers, co-chaired by the commanders of the two national contingents. They consolidate and transform the political into operational aims for a Combined Joint Taskforce Headquarter in the theatre under the lead nation. Weiterlesen

US Army Europe-Africa headquartered in Germany

The US Army Europe headquarters building at Wiesbaden, Germany - Foto: U.S. Army photo by Paul Hughes

The US Army Europe headquarter building at Wiesbaden, Germany – Foto: U.S. Army photo by Paul Hughes

Some further information on the upcoming US Army EuropeAfrica Command: Its headquarter will be in Germany an Army spokesperson stated to the author. A detail which was so far a bit uncertain from the previous reporting – e. g. Defense News. That means quite likely Wiesbaden where US Army Europe Command is already established. An obvious choice as its commanding general Christopher Cavoli recently received its fourth star an was announced as the leader of the new combined command. But in the context of the US troop withdrawl from Germany – labeled by US president Donald Trump as „punishment“ of a recusant ally – such details are of interest. The aims of the army with that merger: „This consolidation improves the Army’s ability to meet African and European strategic and operational objectives outlined in the National Defense Strategy while improving global response and optimizing the command, control and rapid transition to large-scale ground combat operations of land forces if needed.“  Especially the finally mentioned operative interest shows the focus on maneuver warfare aka the European scenario. 

US-Army Studie empfiehlt keine Truppenreduzierung in Deutschland

US-Soldaten bei der Übung „Saber Junction“ im August 2020 bei Grafenwöhr und Hohenfels, Deutschland – Foto: US Army Europe

Die vom US-Verteidigungsministerium konzipierte Truppenreduzierung aus Deutschland soll dem Ziel dienen, die strategische Streitkräftedislozierung der Amerikaner in Europa zu verbessern. Der kommunizierte Anspruch: mehr globale Flexibilität in der militärischen Machtprojektion und eine Stärkung der Eingriffsmöglichkeiten in der Schwarzmeerregion.

Doch eine jüngste Studie des U. S Army War College zu genau dieser Thematik – erschienen im Juni dieses Jahres – empfiehlt keinerlei Truppenreduzierung in Deutschland. Bemerkenswert ist, dass Verteidigungsminister Mark Esper diese Analyse 2018 selbst beauftragt hatte; als er noch Heeresstaatssekretär war. Sein Auftrag damals: Zur neuen Sicherheitsstrategie der Trump-Administration sollte ein Expertenteam des War College Empfehlungen zur optimalen Streitkräftepräsenz in Europa mit Ausblick auf 2028 ausarbeiten – mit Fokus auf die Landstreitkräfte. Weiterlesen