Debate: This House would abolish the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force

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To mark the 10th anniversary of the Lancaster House agreements, teams from Ecole de Guerre and RUSI debated whether the Combined Joint Expeditionary force should be abolished.

The Lancaster House treaties were signed in 2010: bilateral agreements between France and the UK to increase interoperability for defence and security cooperation.

Upon signing, both governments agreed on the creation of a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) ready to be deployed in times of crisis. CJEF constituted a unique trial for both nations to develop a credible, integrated Franco-British combined military structure. It has been established for nearly a decade. Nevertheless, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the return of great power competition, the national strain of the pandemic, and France’s ambiguous relation to NATO have cooled the political enthusiasm for Franco-British cooperation.

Can the CJEF survive, and should it? Is it suited to the politics and adapted to the threats facing Franco-British defence interests or is it merely an obsolete distraction designed for a different age?

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