DACEUR's Perspective on ESDI
General Sir Rupert Smith
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Given that the evolving relationship between NATO and the EU is one of SACEURs three main priorities and that my terms of reference tell me I am to be the focus for ESDI matters at the military strategic level within the Alliance, my remarks will address ESDI from the point of view of DSACEUR (Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe) at SHAPE.
ENGAGING SHAPE IN ESDI DEVELOPMENT
The challenge we face is how to develop the ESDI so that it meets the requirements that it strengthen NATO, be separable but not separate, and have the minimum parallel structures while recognizing that we have only one set of armies, navies, and air forces. In meeting this challenge SHAPE has much to offer: it is the established multinational military strategic headquarters. It holds the Bi-SC planning capability, the CJPS. Because our staff is supported by the other branches in the Headquarters, we can provide military advice to both NATO and the EU, common advice that will allow both parties to make their judgments with a common perception.
SHAPE incorporates the defense planning staff whose task it is to take the ministerial guidance that directs how our forces are to be developed and, with each nation, translate this guidance into national defense planning and spending that matches Alliance aspirations and priorities with those of the nations. If we are not careful, however, we could have two competing sets of guidelinesone from EU and one from NATOfor our one set of forces. This could cause an acute problem for at least nine nations, and a slightly lesser problem for those nations that play a full part in the Partnership program.
SHAPE has been a multinational operational HQ conducting multinational operations for almost six years. In theory all nations know how to mount an operation at the strategic level: to form the force, deploy it, direct it towards its end, sustain it, and ultimately recover it. But I contend there are very few nations that have the experience of doing this on the scale that SHAPE has, and none has done it on a multinational basis.
Perhaps our greatest body of experience is with the force generation for these operations. Currently, and using a factor of three for sustainment, NATO and its Partners have about 250,000 men committed to the Balkans. But the fact is that we cannot find all we want in numbers or capability. By its nature, developing the ESDI Headline Goal involves elements of force generation as well as defense planning.
Now the facts that we will only ever have one set of armed forces and that we are engaged in operations of long duration require that some agency maintain the account. Before one multinational body sets out to conduct another operation we need to understand the consequences for the other multinational body. Who better than SHAPE to keep the account? By using SHAPE in this way, the necessary transparency will exist between the non-EU Allies and the non-NATO members of the EU. Information concerning resources, forces, and planning options will be available to all. The debate about what to do on the basis of this information will take place at the political level, but the information itself will be common to all.
To conclude, we must engage SHAPE in ESDI development and operations for three reasons:
- To provide the information to both NATO and the EU so that there is a shared perception, including an understanding of the forces and resources available, before the decision to act is made;
- To help develop the Headline Goal on the basis of our operational experience and our role in defense planning so that this European Group of Forces is useful to the EU and enhances NATOs capabilities;
- To provide necessary transparency between the nations, the Allies, and the political groupings.