The maintenance of a strong and competitive DTIB in Europe is a fundamental underpinning of the European Security and Defence Policy. A robust European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) is a prerequisite to the European Defence Agency (EDA) achieving its mission: improving the EU’s defence capabilities.
It is this DTIB which supplies the bulk of the equipment our armed forces use. It is also a valuable economic asset. Europe possesses a widely-capable, and in many sectors, world-leading DTIB but we need to ensure that the DTIB is capable of meeting our needs on time, to specification, and to budget.
Change is needed therefore. The essence is to recognise that a fully adequate DTIB is no longer sustainable on a strictly national basis. We need therefore to achieve consolidation on both the demand and supply side of the market. Requirements in Europe have to be aligned, development and production optimised and our various needs will have to be fulfilled by pooling & sharing of equipment. The result is an increasingly integrated European DTIB.
One of EDA’s main roles is to help - within a capability-driven approach – to strengthen the EDTIB. This function was in fact incorporated in the Agency’s founding charter, the 2004 Council Joint Action. The Agency was required to bring forward, in consultation with the European Commission and Industry, as appropriate, relevant policies and strategies to develop the EDTIB in a balanced fashion.
This role has been reaffirmed in the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty recognises the Agency’s role in “identifying and implementing any useful measure for strengthening the industrial and technological base and improving the effectiveness of military expenditure”.
An EDTIB Strategy
The EDTIB challenges are significant, but the Agency has made progress. In its role as catalyst, EDA is helping create a truly European DTIB - one that it is more than a disparate range of national capacities. In May 2007 Member States endorsed the strategy to create a stronger EDTIB, focused on meeting the real operational requirements of the Armed Forces of the future, able to rapidly exploit the most promising technologies and be more competitive both in Europe and around the world. The EDTIB which pMS aspire to have needs to be: capability-driven, competent and globally competitive. Such an EDTIB will need also to be more integrated, less duplicative and more interdependent. Centres of Excellence should generally emerge from a market-driven process.
This EDTIB must also be more closely integrated with the wider, non-defence European technological and industrial base, with less dependence on non-European sources for key defence technologies. This EDTIB is, however, not a “fortress Europe”, excluding imports from, or competition with, overseas suppliers.
The challenge lies in its successful implementation: how can EDA ensure that Europe’s DTIB is maintained, strengthened, developed and its global competitiveness enhanced?
The EDTIB Strategy sets out how we should get from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow and highlights the critical enablers to help achieve the aspired objectives through:
- clarifying priorities (namely prioritising military capability needs; identifying the key technologies and key industrial capabilities for preservation or development in Europe);
- consolidating demand;
- increasing investments;
- ensuring Security of Supply;
- increasing competition, and co-operation.
In September 2007, the Steering Board approved a series of roadmaps covering a broad range of activities to implement the EDTIB strategy, including identification of key industrial capabilities, security of supply between countries, increased competition in the defence equipment market, deepening and diversifying supplier base, and increased armaments cooperation. The roadmaps lay out the timetables and milestones for each work strand. This work is facilitated by close liaison with the governments and industry. Information on the current status of the different workstrands can be found on the specific webpages.