Center for Strategic Decision Research


International Cooperation: What Is the Way Forward?

Ing. Dr. Giorgio Zappa
Chairman and CEO, Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A.

How will we go forward with international cooperation? This is the question, but the answer is not so clear, particularly from an industry point of view. Certainly, the easy answer is that industry will capitalize on lessons learned to develop the best solution for industrial cooperation. But this is just the marketing statement, it is not the real answer to the question. But with the current phase of the Iraq war and the new world situation, it is difficult to know the real answer. When we speak about the common military needs for the future, including rapid-reaction, precision strikes on moving targets, speed and synchronization among different forces, and absolute air superiority, the answer is quite clear. But when you put on top of that the fact that we need more intelligence, more diplomacy, more security in our countries as well as in the country where we are involved in peacekeeping, then it seems to me that the risks of cooperation become greater. That is because when you speak about this kind of capability, you need to incorporate the different requirements, priorities, points of view, and national interests of all the countries and industries involved. 


A major problem concerns the concept of network-centric warfare, which has 15 different names for essentially the same concept. The European Union, the U.S., Australia, all have different terms. That means we must start a discussion that will give us one name for the one concept. 

Regarding cooperation between governments in the fields of intelligence, security, and diplomacy, from the industry point of view you need some kind of software sharing. But it is difficult to imagine improving cooperation between the industries without changing the technology agreement between the European community and the U.S. community. It may be possible to build aircraft and satellites together, but in order to define or manage system capability, it is necessary to change the approach. 

It is also difficult to imagine shared activities between the commercial, military, and defense industries, even more than in the past. When you talk about the military business now, you talk about the security business, which means you take a different approach but have the same capability. Also, some companies may be different than they were in the past. And now we must not only protect our own homelands but work toward security in other countries. Finally, to provide full service, we must provide not only logistics but maintenance and other assistance. It is difficult to provide security in other countries without some kind of military assurance. 


While it seems possible to make changes to our industry, I insist that it is still too early to understand how the situation has changed since September 11. I believe we must understand it in order to change our approach to collaboration. Certainly, cooperation will increase, because we have all invested a great deal in homeland security and for defense, so for financial reasons we must connect our capability and imagine an international program. And, certainly, for European companies, the priority will be to integrate European capabilities and also to rationalize the expense for investing in technology to reduce the gap with the U.S. But if we want to deal with the problem of terrorism worldwide, we need to collaborate more. However, this is more complicated in the new security environment. The answer to the problem may be very different than it was four or five years ago. 






























Top of page | Home | ©2003 Center for Strategic Decision Research