Following its restructuring in 2014, the European Defence Agency developed a structured and comprehensive approach to supporting EU Operations as part of its mandate to support the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This has led to a number of initiatives that make a direct and tangible contribution to ongoing EU missions and/or operations.
EU SatCom Market has been used extensively by almost all military operations and missions for fixed and/or mobile satellite communications. In addition, EDA is now able to provide contracted services for networks and communication services. It is the case to connect MPCC with all three EUTMs (Mali, Somalia and RCA) over a secure network (EU-R) and to provide a duty network for EUTM RCA. EDA fulfils today the challenging role of the contract manager and mediator in meetings and workshops. EDA has also supported the MPCC to take over the responsibility for the strategic SatCom links to EUTM Mali and. In addition to that, eight CSDP civilian missions are making extensive use of the fixed and/or mobile satellite communication services, as well as the new services for CIS. This clearly demonstrates that joint procurement can deliver civ-mil synergies in the CSDP framework.
As a new solution, the EDA GOVSATCOM Pooling and Sharing demonstration project (GSC Demo Project) offers governemental SatCom services to Member States and European CSDP actors through a pooled capability (bandwidth/power and/or services) provided by contributing Member States. Compared to the EU SatCom Market, these services are all provided through governmentally owned SatCom resources with a higher level of security and guaranteed access. The Athena Mechanism has joined the Project Arrangement since 17 January 2019.
The AIRMEDEVAC project builds on the EU SatCom Market model to provide aero medical services through multiple contractors offering fixed and rotary wing services in Europe and Africa. It is based on EUMC agreed military technical requirements developed by EUMS and MS experts. AIRMEDEVAC Multiple Framework Contracts have been awarded in February 2019 to provide fixed and rotary wings medical evacuation services in Europe and Africa. The contracts run until January 2023 for a maximum value of 120 million Euro. The project currently involves four participating Member States and could also offer a quick and easy solution for military operations and missions to contract AEROMEDEVAC services with less burden on mission’s staff, subject to a decision of the Athena Special Committee.
J1 Functional Area Service is a human resource management tool for an OHQ which manages the in-processing and out-processing of augmented OHQ staff from Member States and provides for management information and dashboard statistics. J1FAS has been deployed end of 2018 in the Polish HQ in Krakow to support the EUBG V4 2019-2. This is in addition to the IT OHQ in support of Operation Sophia where the tool is assessed as a supportive environment to process all EUNAVFOR MED Personnel. It was also used previously by the EL OHQ in support of EUFOR RCA and for support to various EU military exercises.
The availability of geospatial information is a key resource for the planning and execution of an operation. EDA GeoHub is used for Operation Sophia within the IT OHQ, EUMM Georgia and OSCE SMM Ukraine HQs with support of the EU SATCEN. It has been used for support to EU Military Exercises as well.
Once activated, the core nucleus of an OHQ is augmented by staff coming from different Member States, with a different level of cyber knowledge and especially cyber awareness. Cyber Awareness Seminars aim to provide a common and solid knowledge for the whole OHQ staff regarding cyber threats, international rules applicable to cyberspace, best practices on IT security and the EU concept for on Cyber Defence in EU-led military operations and missions. Cyber Awareness Seminars were provided 2-3 times/year to Operation SOPHIA staff in Rome OHQ from 2015 until 2017. Similar training was provided to EUFOR RCA staff in the Larissa OHQ (summer 2014).
MARSUR aims to produce and share a maritime picture, improve interoperability and co-operation between EU military and civilian maritime authorities and to enable better co-operation with other international maritime actors. Marsur has been implemented with support of the Italian Navy in the IT OHQ in support of Operation SOPHIA. In May 2017, a demonstration showed the benefits of connecting a CSDP Maritime Operations Centre to the MARSUR Network to mutually fertilize the regional Recognized Maritime Picture shared by the other EU Navies. At the same occasion the added value of a deployable MARSUR capability embarked on a coalition ship as a complementary means to the existing C2 networks.
The European Defence Agency tested in the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali an EDA-funded "Smart Energy Camp" demonstrator from end 2015 which analysed the benefits of integrating new technologies into traditional power grids for deployed camps. Now a Smart Camps Technical Demonstrator feasibility study at KTC is investigating the potential for deploying a range of integrated sustainable energy and environmental technologies on a larger scale, together with options for the legacy smart equipment.
Further to a pilot case in 2014 where EDA provided assistance to Operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the contracting of Air-to-Ground Surveillance (AGSR) services, a Cooperation Arrangement was signed in 2015 with Athena, the mechanism established to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications, to facilitate contracting support to CSDP operations. Under this arrangement, the Agency has supported several missions to assist interalia procurement of special and armored vehicles, medical equipment or to analyse cost-benefit of outsourcing camp management. The EDA-ATHENA Cooperation Arrangement has been renewed in February 2019. This arrangement offers the option for any Operation/Mission Commanders to call upon EDA to provide technical and overall administrative support for large and complex procurement procedures. EDA also offers a web-based Contractor Support to Operations (CSO) Platform, to serve as a forum for interaction between contracting authorities and economic operators.