Center for Strategic Decision Research


Useful Mechanisms for International Cooperation: A German View

Ministerialdirektor Dr. Hans-Heinrich Weise
German National Armaments Director

TheTwenty-first International Workshop on Global Security demonstrates the general consensus among its participants that the threats, risks, and challenges to our security—and, if necessary, to restoring security and stability, including nation building—cannot be shouldered by one nation alone, even the United States. They require alliances, partnerships, and international cooperation following a common, comprehensive political and military concept.  

The German Minister of Defense, Dr. Struck, made these points quite clearly: NATO should play a stronger role in global security, Europe should see itself increasingly as a global actor, and NATO and the EU should cooperate closely with the United Nations and be prepared to jointly employ their resources and forces in support of the UN and under UN mandates.  


The ongoing transformation processes now taking place in the Alliance and the EU and on national levels should constitute the mechanisms for achieving these objectives. In addition to the security-political aspects of these transformations, military concepts based on network-enabled capabilities must also play decisive roles.  

However, in order to optimize the potential of new technologies for networking our military forces, a higher degree of cooperation among partners—more than anything we have experienced in the past—is required. Such cooperation must begin with close interaction formulating doctrines and operational concepts, and to that end Germany, together with its Alliance partners, has engaged substantially in the CD&E process that was initiated by the U.S, and has been vigorously pursued through Allied Command Transformation (ACT). Germany also has been strongly supportive of the establishment of the NATO Response Force (NRF) as a catalyst for NATO transformation and has given priority to our force contribution to it. We are working to have Germany’s NRF element fully network-enabled in 2007. We believe that the more partners engage in armament cooperation during the early phases of research, development, and production, the more efficient will be the joint operations of network-enabled allied forces—an absolute necessity.  

Therefore we should revise what we have considered to be one of the major virtues of NATO: namely, to bundle our competencies, capabilities, and resources in order to achieve optimal results, and to field systems and capabilities more economically by sharing their costs and producing them in larger quantities.  

Currently we are on a promising path to transatlantic armaments cooperation. The recent decision by CNAD regarding the AGS program as well as the progress we are making in the trilateral MEADS program are good signs. However, the European partners in these programs have made their support conditional by requiring fair technology transfer between the partners and the U.S. regarding license granting. We are in the process of clarifying this situation with our American friends and are confident we will be able to find a reasonable solution.  

As we work toward close transatlantic cooperation, European unification is making rapid progress. The European defense framework is shaping up. The political framework in the form of a European constitution is close to being agreed upon. Europe has set clear military Headline goals, defined required military capabilities, and is well on the way to establishing a European Defense Agency (EDA). In June 2003, the European Council tasked the appropriate bodies to create this intergovernmental agency during the year 2004, by joint action if the constitution is not yet in effect. In early May of 2004 the Ad Hoc Preparation Group approved the basic concept for the agency and delivered it to the appropriate political bodies, and we expect the June 2004 European Council meeting to make the final decisions regarding the founding of the agency.  

EDA is a major step in European armaments cooperation—it will bring together the harmonization of military requirements with new initiatives on European research and technology programs. We will not reinvent the wheel, but will base the agency’s work on that of already existing bodies, for example, OCCAR, the five-nation procurement agency, to manage cooperative programs on behalf of the nations. When EDA is founded, WEAG will cease to exist, and its panels will be transferred to EDA.  

Thus Europe will increasingly speak with one voice in research, technology, and acquisition matters. We are convinced that a stronger Europe will strengthen both our common transatlantic objectives and our strategic goals for mastering the challenges of the future.


In order to meet the challenges of the future, the Bundeswehr will follow its new concept to implement three different force categories:  

  • A 35,000-strong Response Force will provide a responsive war-fighting capability on short notice and will be able to conduct high-intensity joint and network-based international operations. With our Response Force units we will take on the tasks that are part of our commitment to the NATO Response Force, the European Headline Goal, and other NATO- or European-led operations. These forces will also serve in national evacuation operations.  
  • A total of 70,000 Stabilization Forces will fulfill tasks within the broad spectrum of peace-keeping and stabilization operations. A maximum of 14,000 troops at a time will prepare the ground for peaceful political solutions to conflicts and take part in nation-building activities when necessary.  
  • Some 147,500 Support Forces will ensure timely and comprehensive support of all ongoing operations. These forces, for example, will ensure logistics and transport, run depots, provide military police forces, and provide command and control capabilities. Their main aim will be to support the ongoing operations of Response Forces and Stabilization Forces.  

We have substantially reoriented our research, technology, and armaments programs to serve these new force categories.  


Germany strongly supports the process of European integration, an effective European Security and Defense Policy, close armaments cooperation, and the establishment of a single European armaments market with a consolidated industrial structure. At the same time we consider it crucial for European nations to sustain a close, cooperative transatlantic partnership to keep the North Atlantic Alliance vital and powerful.  

I am convinced that we must revive the trusting, frank, and open transatlantic dialogue we had in the past. Over the last 10 years, I am afraid we lost a great deal of its momentum. In Europe, for example, the process of European integration, of establishing European capabilities and European capacities to act, is dominating daily activities. In the U.S., on the other hand, colleagues are taking decisive action in which they invite European partners to participate—but they do not coordinate their intentions with potential partners ahead of time and just ask them to follow suit.  

It is time to rediscover the old virtues. They must lead us back to the place where we are able to communicate our intentions and the hidden agendas behind official political statements. This Workshop is a valuable and encouraging building block for reaching this goal.


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