European military not up to the job?

This caught my eye in today’s FT. At the end of the Cold War many countries in Europe, including the UK, took the opportunity to reduce spending on their military and put the money into other things – failed government computer systems, hostels for illegal immigrants, pointless consultants … you know the sort of thing.

Now the chickens are well and truly on their way home. The choice appears to be either greater integration with other European forces, at least at the research and procurement level, or not being able to meet the primary aim of the nation state – defending its citizens.

It also makes me question the rationale for putting enormous resources into the CVF – Future Aircraft Carrier project - is that the best use of limited resources or should we reassign the monies to other forces?

Retired Nato generals blast European military
By Peter Spiegel
Two of Nato's most respected retired generals will on Wednesday issue a stinging indictment of European military capabilities, arguing that unless the continent pools its defence resources it may be unable to meet mounting security risks such as international terrorism.

Gen Joseph Ralston, the retired US officer who headed Nato until 2003, and retired General Klaus Naumann, Germany's former chief of defence and head of Nato's military committee, argue that European leaders have “lacked the political will” to improve military capabilities. “Failure to meaningfully improve Europe's collective defence capabilities in the coming years would have profoundly negative impacts on the ability of European countries to protect their interests, the viability of Nato as an alliance, and the ability of European countries to partner in any meaningful way with the US,” according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Financial Times.

The 97-page study, due to be presented on Wednesday to European Union and Nato leaders in Brussels, was a year in the making, involving consultation with former defence chiefs of almost all European powers, including the UK and France. The generals will brief European defence officials during the next two weeks and present their findings in Washington next month, in an effort to provoke action by Europe's politicians who have not delivered on past promises to Nato.

The call for greater integration in European military research and procurement is likely to be controversial since France and Britain, in particular, have been at odds over the extent to which a pan-European defence agency should have a say over national budget priorities. Britain has resisted French calls for a more centralised procurement process.
But the report argues that without a more co-ordinated approach, flat or declining defence spending by most European countries will make it impossible for militaries to execute stated security strategies, which include combating terrorism and the proliferation of unconventional weapons, and dealing with failing states.
“Some question whether further defence integration can occur among European nations which value their sovereignty and see the world from diverse perspectives,” the report finds. “Although this will be no small challenge, there really is no viable alternative. Staying the course is not an option indeed, it is a recipe for disaster.”

The report calls on European powers to re-allocate defence spending so that 25 per cent of budgets are spent on research and acquiring new weapons, while no more than 40 per cent is spent on personnel. For smaller militaries unable to provide a wide-range of capabilities, it calls for increased specialisation that can make “high-value contributions to collective security”.

The report says such shifts in budget and specialisation should be done in close co-ordination with Nato and the EU's new defence agency so that critical shortfalls, which include a scarcity of transport aircraft, sophisticated command and control systems and special operations forces are met and duplication is limited.
NATO died as an operational military alliance over Kosovo. A war in Europe, fought for primarily European interests, where 80% or so of the actual combat missions were flown by US aircraft.
Nato was only ever there to keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in (W.Churchill(c)). Now the Germans are reunited, and show no signs of wanting to go for Round 3. The Russians are exposed as a bunch of hopeless tosspots who couldn't invade my shed, let alone europe. No one really sees any need to have the yanks here anymore, so Nato has no purpose.

Common ammo and POL are all we really need from any likely allies. Int sharing at the highest levels is a financial matter to be handled by Treasury/FCO not MoD. So why do we need any formal links with any European forces (apart from the overseas drinking opportunities, natch)?
I have always beleived that one day Europe will unite.
50-100 years down the road maybe, but not now, its Economically not fesable.
The peace movement cannot/does not want to look foreward.
F up the education system or the economy and given time you can sort it out.
F up on defence and then you'll learn why it's Tommy this and Tommy that and through him out the BRUTE.
You might be right about europe uniting one day JW.

The great Atlanticist, Churchill, was very pro-Europe, at least pro France. if you recall, he proposed a full political union between UK and France in 1940. Many people disparaged this as expediency to shore up French opinion of the UK at a time when German propaganda and anti Brit feeling in France was painting the lack of reinforcement of the BEF as a selling-out of france by its ally. I believe, from Winstons accounts wot I have read and other historical sources, that he was dead serious. Perhaps he was ahead of his time. I certainly wouldn't mind a bit of French lifestyle (short week, take no crap off the govt., low crime) in the UK. Just as long as we can keep our beer, and get their women.
The only thing we should be doing is getting closer to the Septics. Although they're not perfect (neither are we) they're streaks ahead of the rest of Europe in virtually all aspects of their military and indeed their economy.
You are right about their military capability, but I'm not so sure about the economic side. Anyway, if you are going to copy a country, there's more to it than money and guns (although I personally am very fond of both). What about quality of life? half of America is either on welfare or has to do 2 jobs to make ends meet. I'd rather go down the Euro route and have a bit less cash than I could have by slaving 60 hours, but spend some time with my family and friends. No one dies regretting that they didn't spend more time at the office. Except maybe that bloke in 'nympho secretary 2'.

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