From Capability Development to Pooling & Sharing

indexThe crisis in former Yugoslavia in 1991 was impossible to contain, due to the lack of capabilities by European States, whose forces were land-heavy, thus supplementary to those of the USA, whose commitments in the Persian Gulf prevented any timely initiative.

A “power vacuum” was therefore detected in Europe, and this led to a number of initiatives within the EU, including the “Security and Defense Policy”(ESDP). Inevitably, in 1999 the newborn ESDP focused on “Capability Development” and established the European Defense Agency (EDA) to perform this task.

Notwithstanding the limitations imposed by EU Member States (EU MSs), EDA has started several projects, but they proved not enough, especially with the deepening of the economic crisis; therefore, a new initiative, “Pooling and Sharing” has been envisaged, to allow all EU MSs to develop in common the “critical capabilities” required, and to use them to the general benefit.

Three major projects have been started: Air-to-air refueling, Modular field hospitals, and cooperative pilot training; while others are being studied. The lack of cohesion among EU MSs and the limited technological level of Europe, though, hinder this initiative, to the point that “Pooling and Sharing” will perforce rely on collaboration with NATO.



Address at the Study Conference “Military Spending in Times of Crisis: Smart Defense”, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan, November 12)




Link to the Italian Version