This caught my eye in todayâs 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 â failed government computer systems, hostels for illegal immigrants, pointless consultants â¦ 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 â defending its citizens. It also makes me question the rationale for putting enormous resources into the CVF â 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 âlacked the political willâ to improve military capabilities. âFailure 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,â 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. âSome question whether further defence integration can occur among European nations which value their sovereignty and see the world from diverse perspectives,â the report finds. âAlthough 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.â 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 âhigh-value contributions to collective securityâ. 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.