The conclusions on security and defence adopted by the Council of the European Union at the Summit meeting in Brussels have made European Army a reality, as immediate installation of a Permanent Structured Cooperation, complete with headquarters, internal structure and task forces, is now possible. The Council Conclusions were signed by 25 out of 28 countries, with leaders of the Member States asking for the expediting of the process to create and activate the Common European Defence Fund, that comes with a budget of 5.5 billion euros.
Of course, the creation of the European Army is a more complex process than it may appear. It will require both legislative action in national level, as well as new policies in defence budgets architecture and equipment purchases.
Although defence budgeting remains well within national jurisdiction, its management is gradually turning into a European responsibility, which is expected to sparkle debate and conflict. Defence costs constitute a major national foreign policy tool, as is the case for Greece, that has consistently utilized it in bilateral relations with the USA and Russia.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, pointed out that, although European Defence Budget accounts for 50% of the United States, its effectiveness in terms of the final product only reaches 15%, manifesting an important output gap. The main goal is to narrow this gap through the European Defence Fund and through enhanced coordination in buying defence systems, which will all lead to a defragmentation of the European arms industry.
The structural framework still has many unclear points, but the creation of a cyber army structure, rapid response units and the development of common defensive and offensive policies in cyber war and propaganda indicates the level and depth of the cooperation that PESCO will help achieve.
The first 17 collaborative PESCO projects, under European Commissioner on European Foreign Security and Defence Policy Federica Mogherini, include the development of border protection procedures and software. This falls within national border protection procedures, as it entails permanent force deployment and the transfer of strategic decision – making authority to European context.
At the same time, a new European Medical Command, as well as a Network of Logistic Hubs are established, the efficient function of which will require the unhindered movement of land, air and naval units in national territories.
Rapid response teams, the structure and procedure of mission undertaking and critical decision – making on a European level are also expected to raise issues, as the creation of a European artillery unit clearly indicates that European forces will also be of offensive nature.
According to the European Commission documents released, PESCO will cover a broad spectrum of activities, both inside and outside EU territory and it will enjoy administrative and operational autonomy. It will have the ability to act both independently and in cooperation with NATO forces, while the framework for cooperation with national armies regarding defense against third countries is still unclear.
European Medical Command
The European Medical Command (EMC) will provide the EU with an enduring medical capability to support missions and operations on the ground. The EMC will provide critical medical resources, including a multinational medical task force with a rapidly deployable capability for basic primary care. The EMC will also provide evacuation facilities, triage and resuscitation, treatment and holding of patients until they can be returned to duty, and emergency dental treatment. The European Medical Command (EMC) will ensure efficient joint EU management of scarce European medical services (planning, management and coordination unit). It will provide critical medical resources and contribute to harmonising national medical standards, legal (civil) framework conditions and sanitary service principles. The project is expected to make progress the interoperability and the coherence of health care capabilities in Europe (standardization of concepts, training and certification).
European Secure Software defined Radio (ESSOR)
The European Secure Software Defined Radio aims to develop common technologies for European military radios. The adoption of these technologies as a standard will guarantee the interoperability of EU forces in the framework of joint operations, regardless which radio platforms are used, thereby reinforcing the European strategic autonomy. The European Secure Software Defined Radio project will provide a secure military communications system, improving voice and data communication between EU forces on a variety of platforms.
Network of logistic Hubs in Europe and support to Operations
The Network of logistic Hubs in Europe and support to Operations will improve strategic logistic support and force projection in EU Missions and Operations. It aims at establishing cross-border solutions for more efficient, seamless military transport/logistics and connection of existing European initiatives under one logistic umbrella. It is expected to enhance logistic planning and movement as well as to deliver common standards and procedures, that will greatly improve the EU’s and NATO’s capability to conduct even the most demanding missions.
This project will support Member States’ commitment to simplify and standardize cross-border military transport procedures. It aims to enhance the speed of movement of military forces across Europe. It aims to guarantee the unhindered movement of military personnel and assets within the borders of the EU. This entails avoiding long bureaucratic procedures to move through or over EU Member States, be it via rail, road, air or sea. The project should help to reduce barriers such as legal hurdles to crossborder movement, lingering bureaucratic requirements (such as passport checks at some border crossings) and infrastructure problems, like roads and bridges that cannot accommodate large military vehicles.
European Union Training Mission Competence Centre (EU TMCC)
The European Union Training Mission Competence Centre (EU TMCC) will improve the availability, interoperability, specific skills and professionalism of personnel (trainers) for EU training missions across participating Member States. Moreover, it will accelerate the provision for EU training missions due to a higher situational awareness regarding trained, educated and available personnel for current and future EU training missions.
European Training Certification Centre for European Armies
The European Training Certification Centre for European Armies aims to promote the standardisation of procedures among European Armies and enable the staff, up to Division level, to practice the entire spectrum of the command and control (C2) functions at land, joint and interagency levels in a simulated training environment. The Centre will ensure that soldiers and civilian employees will work together in a simulated training environment with scenarios such as “Humanitarian Assistance” and “Support to Stabilization and Capacity Building” and eventually contribute to ensure that corporate experience and knowledge is consolidated, shared and made available to plan and conduct CSDP missions and operations.
Energy Operational Function (EOF)
Based on lessons learnt from recent operations, the project “Energy Operational Function” aims at a double objective. On one part, it aims at developing together new systems of energy supply for camps deployed in the framework of joint operations and for soldier connected devices and equipment. On the other part, it aims at ensuring that the energy issue is taken into account from the conceiving of combat systems to the implementation of the support in operations, and including in the framework of operational planning.
Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package
The Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package will deliver a multi-national specialist military package for the assistance to EU and other States, which can be deployed within both EU-led and non EU-led operations. The new EU capability will manage a range of emergencies including natural disasters, civil emergencies, and pandemics. The project aims to include the establishment of a new EU Disaster Relief Training Centre of Excellence, and ultimately a Disaster Relief Deployable Headquarters.
Maritime (semi-) Autonomous Systems for Mine Countermeasures (MAS MCM)
The Maritime (semi-) Autonomous Systems for Mine Countermeasures (MAS MCM) will deliver a world-class mix of (semi-) autonomous underwater, surface and aerial technologies for maritime mine countermeasures. The project will enable Member States to protect maritime vessels, harbours and off shore installations, and to safeguard freedom of navigation on maritime trading routes. The development of underwater autonomous vehicles, using cutting-edge technology and an open architecture, adopting a modular set up, will contribute significantly to the EU’s maritime security by helping to counter the threat of sea mines.
Harbour & Maritime Surveillance and Protection (HARMSPRO)
The Harbour & Maritime Surveillance and Protection (HARMSPRO) will deliver a new maritime capability which will provide Member States with the ability to conduct surveillance and protection of specified maritime areas, from harbours up to littoral waters, including sea line of communications and choke points, in order to obtain security and safety of maritime traffic and structures. It will deliver an integrated system of maritime sensors, software and platforms (surface, underwater and aerial vehicles), which fuse and process data, to aid the detection and identification of a range of potential maritime threats. The project will also deliver a command and control function for the deployable system, which could operate in harbours, coastal areas and the littoral environment.
Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance
The project on Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance will integrate land-based surveillance systems, maritime and air platforms in order to distribute realtime information to Member States, so as to provide timely and effective response in the international waters. The main objective of the program is to enhance the Maritime Surveillance, Situational Awareness and potential Response Effectiveness of the EU, by using the existing infrastructure, deploying assets and developing related capabilities in the future. It aims to address timely and effectively new and old threats and challenges (such as energy security, environmental challenges, security and defence aspects); thus ensuring accurate Awareness and Rapid Response, so as to contribute to the protection of the EU and its citizens.
Cyber Threats and Incident Response Information Sharing Platform
Cyber Threats and Incident Response Information Sharing Platform will develop more active defence measures, potentially moving from firewalls to more active measures. This project aims to help mitigate these risks by focusing on the sharing of cyber threat intelligence through a networked Member State platform, with the aim of strengthening nations’ cyber defence capabilities.
Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security
Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs) will allow Member States to help each other to ensure higher level of cyber resilience and to collectively respond to cyber incidents. Cyber RRTs could be used to assist other Member States and EU Institutions, CSDP operations as well as partner countries. CRRTs will be equipped with unified Deployable Cyber Toolkits designed to detect, recognise and mitigate cyber threats. The response teams would be able to assist with training, diagnostics and attribution forensics, and assistance in operations. The aim of this project is to integrate Member State expertise in the field of cyber defence.
Strategic Command and Control (C2) System for CSDP Missions and Operations
The project aims to improve the command and control systems of EU missions and operations at the strategic level. Once implemented, the project will enhance the military decision-making process, improve the planning and conduct of missions, and the coordination of EU forces. The Strategic Command and Control (C2) System for CSDP Missions will connect users by delivering information systems and decision-making support tools that will assist strategic commanders carry out their missions. Integration of information systems would include intelligence, surveillance, command and control, and logistics systems.
Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle / Amphibious Assault Vehicle / Light Armoured Vehicle
The project will develop and build a prototype European Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle / Amphibious Assault Vehicle / Light Armoured Vehicle. The vehicles would be based on a common platform and would support fast deployment manoeuvre, reconnaissance, combat support, logistics support, command and control, and medical support. These new vehicles will also strengthen the EU CSPD ensuring, at the same time, the interoperability among European armies.
Indirect Fire Support (EuroArtillery);
The Indirect Fire Support (EuroArtillery) will develop a mobile precision artillery platform, which would contribute to the EU’s combat capability requirement in military operations. This platform is expected to include land battle decisive ammunition, nonlethal ammunition, and a common fire control system for improving coordination and interoperability in multi-national operations. This project aims at procuring a new capability / platform of a key mission component for land forces in the short to mid-term.
EUFOR Crisis Response Operation Core (EUFOR CROC) EUFOR
Crisis Response Operation Core (EUFOR CROC) will decisively contribute to the creation of a coherent full spectrum force package, which could accelerate the provision of forces. EUFOR CORC will improve the crisis management capabilities of the EU. In phase 1 the project will start with an implementation study.