BRUSSELS — An agreement signed between the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the EU's Athena mechanism will enable the Athena administrator or any EU operation/mission commander to call on the EDA for technical and administrative support for infrastructure procurement.
"It took some time to clarify respective roles, responsibilities and processes and have the agreement of the 'Athena Special Committee'. This arrangement aims to clarify these points and thus speed up the process of providing support," said the EDA official.
Under the agreement it has been possible to make requests for this support since late February. Asked how long it would take from making a request to ordering an off-the-shelf solution, the EDA official said that "it depends on the complexity and the urgency. For a framework contract offering premission solutions we expect it could take about six months."
Asked about future requests for EDA support, the EDA official said that "the intention for the near future is to take advantage of EDA support for large, complex tender procedures such as assisting individual operations with the procurement of special requirements [e.g. medical evacuation services or airborne ground surveillance and reconnaissance] and Athena in setting up more framework contracts [such as camp infrastructure for future operations].
"Procurement of contracted solutions has become increasingly relevant for EU military operations not only to fill capability gaps in the force generation process, but also as a general planned support for ongoing operations," says the EDA in a press release.
"I am convinced that our cooperation would be of huge benefit for supporting EU-led military operations. The European Defence Agency can play a significant role. It holds a considerable knowledge of the industry, as well as in-house technical expertise and experience in contracting," said Athena Administrator Hans-Werner Grenzhäuser.
"The cooperation with EDA will therefore increase flexibility, optimize procurement procedures and save scarce resources by providing contractor support solutions to operations and Athena central."