Center for Strategic Decision Research


Military Dimension of ESDP

Lieutenant General Rainer Schuwirth
Director General, EU Military Staff


I am very grateful to have the opportunity to briefly explain where we stand with the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), particularly its military dimensions in the European Union. Many political decision making steps have led in just two short years to the inclusion of ESDP within the EU's overall instruments and efforts. The development of the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) in NATO and the development of the European unification process have made it logical to move the European security and defense dimension from WEU to EU, to reduce the multinational actors from three to two, and to start developing European autonomous crisis-management capabilities, including a military element for use in situations in which NATO will not be engaged.

There is a principle of complementarity, not competition, and a spirit of transparency and cooperation between the EU and NATO, but one that certainly needs further institutionalized development in several areas.


First of all, within the EU, the new structures of the Political and Security Committee (PSC), the Policy Unit (PU), the EU Military Committee (MC), and the EU Military Staff (EUMS), have taken up their work; the EUMS still has interim status but is expected to be declared permanent at the beginning of June 2001. At this point we are halfway to our Full Staff Capability strength of 135.

Having an EUMS as well as an EUMC is not a duplicate effort, but a logical consequence of incorporating the security and defense dimension into the European Union. Who else should give military advice to the political decision makers?

Secondly, the EU is refraining from establishing a permanent command structure, and instead will draw on existing headquarters, either those of member-states, multinational headquarters, or NATO headquarters, depending on the situation. However, the EUMS will not command an operation or develop operational concepts or plans. Our mission will be to develop military strategic options as a basis for MC's advice to the PSC and the Council.

Work has progressed on the development of Crisis Management Procedures (CMPs), including the involvement of the commission as well as civilian capabilities such as the police. These Crisis Management Procedures will be evaluated and tested in two Crisis Management Workshops in 2001 and employed for the first time in 2002. Subsequent years should see an EU-NATO or EU-CME. Field exercises are not yet foreseen.

On the military side, work has started to complement the CMPs with concepts such as command and control and military strategic planning, with more to follow in other functional areas. Because of the need for interoperability and complementarity, the development of those concepts draws heavily on NATO or, where applicable, WEU terminology.

Contacts and cooperation between NATO and the 6 and 15 European non-EU Member-States have started on the North Atlantic Council/Political and Security Committee (NAC-PSC) level and will soon be extended to the level of Military Committees and staffs.

To have decision-making structures and procedures is one thing; to have the appropriate set of efficient military forces is another one. But the objective is clear: crisis operations in the Petersberg spectrum of humanitarian assistance, evacuation, peace monitoring, and peace implementation with a force of up to Corps size plus air and naval elements for a duration of at least one year that is deployable within 60 days.

Initial force requirements for those operations have already been developed. Member-States, plus non-EU NATO members and countries that are candidates for accession to the EU, have determined their voluntary contributions. In broad terms there is enough quantity, but there are shortfalls in quality.

Some might be complemented by NATO assets and capabilities if such decisions were made, but others might not. It is not astonishing that quality shortfalls lie more or less in the same areas as those within the NATO framework, since Member-States are drawing from the same set of forces. Thus, the real challenge is to overcome those shortfalls. That would-if successful-be to the benefit of both organizations, whether in NATO through the Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI) or in the EU through Headline Goal efforts.

Work has started in the EU to develop a review mechanism and, for the next Commitment Conference, in November 2001, to think about how to prioritize resolving shortfalls. It remains to be seen how this work will unfold, including the necessary cooperation with NATO.


ESDP has gained momentum. Structures and a principal set of procedures are available, and will be further developed toward the end of 2001. CME will start in 2002. Together with the forces offered, there will be a principal capability to run certain crisis-management operations. However, deciding whether or not it is advisable to employ a military force with any prospect of success can only be determined by the particular scenario, including all elements for political decision making. Member-States and Partners have offered sufficient forces for the HLG in quantitative terms. However, there are shortfalls that can be overcome only by the common and individual will of the Member-States and their resources.


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