On 20 May, Claude-France Arnould Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA) met with General Sir Adrian Bradshaw the Operation Commander of EUFOR Althea and Deputy SACEUR. They signed a Procurement Arrangement concerning the acquisition of Air to Ground Surveillance services to operation ALTHEA. This is the first time EDA has signed a procurement arrangement directly with an EU mission.
Under this arrangement, EDA will assume the lead role in administering the procurement procedure of Air to Ground Surveillance services (including day/night actual Infra-red / electro-optical surveillance with near-real time downlink and the ability to re-task in flight) on behalf of the ALTHEA Operation Commander. As the procurement regards common costs, the Operation Commander has been authorised by the Athena administrator to sign the arrangement on behalf of Athena. The cooperation between EDA and Operation ALTHEA will conclude with a recommendation to the Operation Commander to award the contract to one company selected in competition.
Talking about the arrangement, Claude-France Arnould said, “The ultimate goal of any EDA project is to ensure that troops in the field have the capabilities they need, as was demonstrated clearly by our Counter-IED laboratory in Afghanistan. I am delighted that today’s arrangement allows us to do this by providing a procurement service directly to an EU mission for the first time. This cooperation will help highlight the expertise and added value EDA can bring in the field of procurement.”
Supporting CSDP Missions and Operations
As part of the restructuring conducted in January 2014, the Agency aims to play a greater role in supporting CSDP operations and missions. Speaking about the cooperation General Bradshaw added, “The decision to use the expertise from EDA in this procurement for Air to Ground Surveillance services for Op ALTHEA is, of course, based on EDA’s technical knowledge in this field. Another advantage will be to benefit from the lessons learned in conducting such an arrangement between the operation and the EDA directly, in order to establish the necessary procedures which will potentially enable closer cooperation between our organisations in the future.”
This meeting was also an opportunity for Claude-France Arnould to introduce General Bradshaw, who took his functions in March 2014, to the mission and tasks of EDA.
The EU military operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched on 2 December 2004 and has contributed to the maintenance of the safe and secure environment in BiH ever since. Operation ALTHEA is carried out with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, under the "Berlin Plus" arrangements. After a review in 2012 the main objective is to provide capacity building and training for their armed forces whilst retaining the capability to support the BiH efforts to maintain a safe and secure environment.
The Athena Mechanism
ATHENA is the mechanism established to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications governed by Council Decision 2011/871/CFSP. The Council Decision allows for arrangements to be signed with Union bodies to facilitate procurement in operations in the most cost-effective manner.