The European Defence Agency is planning to deliver a new EU capability development in the fall. The last EU capability development plan was issued four years ago. (EDA)
BRUSSELS — The European Defence Agency (EDA) is planning to deliver a new EU capability development plan to member state governments this autumn, said an EDA official.
The last EU capability development plan was issued four years ago. The new one will look at the future strategic context in the world as well as European capabilities that exist today and what is coming down stream. Based on that information, the plan then will examine the gaps in capabilities and duplications and develop capability priorities for the next four years.
“The difference between the last plan and this one is that whereas the last one looked at an EU capability development plan from the perspective of the EU’s Common and Security Defense Policy [CSDP] alone, the new one will be broader, matching national priorities with CSDP priorities,” said the official. “Some of it will be confidential and some will not be,” he added.
“The capability development plan is not a ‘plan’ in the traditional sense, describing the number of units or the amount of equipment EU Member States should have at their disposal. Rather, it provides a view of future capability needs, taking into account the impact of future security challenges, technological development and other trends. It assists the Member States in their national Defence planning and programmes,” says a fact sheet on the EDA’s website.
One input for the development plan was an EU war gaming exercise in The Hague last year. For that, 25 military and civil experts from member states and EU bodies spent three days cross-checking existing and planned military capabilities against the threats and challenges described in four scenarios:
■ Classic case: The global balance of today remains unchanged in a positive and stable way.
■ Aggressive multipolarism: Several more or less equally strong powers compete for power, influence and resources, also by military means.
■ Failing states: An increased number of states are not able to cope with the challenges of globalization, competition for resources, climate change and other factors.
■ Unconventional conflicts: Open military clashes are rare. Power blocks (states) try to undermine each other’s security by supporting, for example, terrorist or radical opposition groups.
Also this year, the EDA is expecting to release a paper on the challenges for the military of operating in the High Arctic North, including the debate over who owns the territory.
The EDA will also push ahead with four flagship capability development programs on remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), air-to-air refueling, satellite communications and cyberdefense. EU heads of state and government provided a mandate for these programs at their summit last December.
With regard to air-to-air refueling, operational clearances among EU countries will be tested in an exercise in April, with three tankers from three countries supporting a Dutch fighter exercise.
The EDA is also working to ensure that testing regimes for military equipment are reportable, evidential and therefore accepted by different EU countries.
At the EU summit, leaders called for a more systematic, long-term approach to cooperation through increased transparency and information-sharing in defense planning.
“We will continue to assess progress on the implementation of the Agency’s Code of Conduct on pooling and sharing and propose an appropriate policy framework by the end of 2014, as mandated by the European Council,” wrote Claude-France Arnould, chief executive, EDA, on the EDA’s website after the summit. ■