Center for Strategic Decision Research


Opening Address of the 21st International Workshop on Global Security

Mr. Rainer Hertrich
Co-CEO, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS)
Honorary Workshop Chairman

EADS Co-CEO Rainer Hertrich
"With the shocking terrorist attacks in Madrid, Europeans learned that we are not immune to international terrorism."

For the last several years, it has been almost unthinkable to have the Berlin Air Show without the International Workshop on Global Security preceding it. This Workshop provides us with a highly welcome and much needed opportunity to meet and reflect on the security environment in which we operate; it is a crucial occasion for discussing where we as politicians, members of the armed forces, and industry leaders want to go–and how we want to get there. In a word, the Workshop provides Berlin, the city that has played such a unique role in history, with the conference on security it needs and deserves. 

With the enlargement of NATO and the European Union, we are laying the foundations on which we can build a broader concept of security—an inclusive concept of cooperation, both on the European and the transatlantic levels. Experience has proven that alternatives such as “Europe versus the United States” or “the old versus the new Europe” are getting us nowhere. Instead, we must understand that only joint European and transatlantic efforts on all levels—economic, diplomatic, and defense—will open up the necessary perspective for global stability and security. 

Hence the first tasks we should dedicate ourselves to are to ensure that the enlarged European Union fully accepts its role as a global security actor and to do everything to support a strong NATO in which Europe teams up with the United States. Only if we achieve these goals will we be able to meet the challenges we are facing. 

In my brief remarks I would like to focus on what both politics and industry can contribute to bringing to life a broader concept of security. 


With the shocking terrorist attacks in Madrid, Europeans learned that we are not immune to international terrorism. It took a long time, but I think we can say that Europe has finally gotten the message. Our nations now know that we must create a joint security framework—a framework for a world that has both unmatched freedom and increased instability and new threats.

The new European security strategy, worked out by Javier Solana, formulates such a framework. It clearly lays out Europe’s role as a global security actor and the need to enhance European defense capabilities. While the momentum for this transformation does not compare with that in the U.S., armed forces across Europe are already shifting towards worldwide deployability and network-centric operations. 

However, European defense budgets are still flat or almost flat, perhaps with the exceptions of those of the U.K. and France, which have seen two years of double-digit investment increases. As long as Europe lags behind in economic growth, defense resources will not increase enough to meet global needs. 

Therefore, it is essential that we create European structures that allow us to significantly enhance the efficiency of our security efforts. Better technology and fewer troops are essential for improving European defense. It is also crucial to increase our defense budgets, though this will come about only with true economic recovery. 

One of the core European structures in this work will be the European Defense Agency, which will be set up in Brussels. However, the first draft for the operation of this agency was disappointing, showing it to be weak, with no budget, and more an advisory institution than an institution that could create a European defense identity. Still, the war is not lost, not even the battle, because the many people who support a strong agency still aim to turn things around.

It is my belief that it is imperative to attribute real political weight and real decision-making power to this agency. That is because: 

  • Through the agency, Europe will be able to define common capability requirements so that we can assure interoperability and overcome the fragmented approach of the past.
  • We need to coordinate and fund joint security research and technology.
  • The agency must have a budget of its own so that it can function as a full-fledged procurement authority and take care of all common European procurement programs; this does imply a shift of sovereign power to the agency, but the success of the Euro has shown that such a shift is possible–and advantageous for everyone.
  • Only an agency with procuring powers will foster an open European defense market and free competition for defense programs. 

What we need, in a word, is a common European defense market, because only with such a market will we create a truly European defense industry across all sectors—not just aerospace, but land and naval systems as well. 

A defense agency with this profile—and the corresponding funding—would help overcome the national boundaries that in the past have hampered consolidated defense programs, larger production runs, and faster decision processes. Thus it will represent a great leap forward for European defense. 


While Europeans must work together, transatlantic cooperation is also important, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. MEADS, the joint missile defense system, and Euro Hawk are outstanding examples of transatlantic cooperation. The Euro Hawk, which is based on the Global Hawk platform by Northrop Grumman and equipped with European sensors, is part of NATO’s new Airborne Ground Surveillance and a paradigm of what industry initiative can achieve. These “eyes in the sky” were achieved by NATO choosing a transatlantic consortium in which EADS and Northrop Grumman played crucial roles. 

While experience shows that technology transfer works at the industry level, industry needs the backing of long-term and robust government-to-government cooperation. To engender that cooperation, trust, at least to a certain extent, is needed. And to establish that trust, we need ongoing dialogue and exchanges of views on all political levels. 

This means, with regard to the U.S., transparency in technology transfer matters as well as the promised relief in export control. Both of these are essential if we want to make programs like MEADS a success— which is our objective. What’s more, transparency is also essential for promising new projects on the horizon. 

In Germany, for instance, there is broad support from all political groups for a new heavy transport helicopter since helicopters are critical pieces of equipment especially in out-of-area peace-keeping and peace-enforcing missions. The planned heavy transport helicopter will be able to carry more passengers and a higher payload than all predecessors, and will replace the ageing fleet of CH-47s and CH-53s. The new helicopter is scheduled to enter service in 2015. 

But why not make this work a transatlantic project between EADS and Sikorsky or Boeing? Such a joint venture would greatly contribute to interoperability, reduce development costs, and create substantial economies of scale. Imagine the boost to transatlantic cooperation that would be generated by an agreement between the governments of the U.S., Germany, and France! (Of course, the doors are open for any other government that wishes to join.) And imagine the incredible benefit to taxpayers on both sides of the Atlantic. This type of cooperation would make security more affordable and facilitate coalition war fighting within the NATO framework. 


To my mind, NATO is and will remain the indispensable link between our two continents, and it will be strengthened in the future. No other institution will play as pivotal a role as NATO when it comes to responding globally to the global threats we face. I believe this will be true because NATO has proven its strengths. It was successful against the old threats and has mastered new challenges, as in the Balkans. Moreover, it is a platform of joint interests and ongoing dialogue. 

However, I do not assume that NATO is an exclusive tool—other coalitions will probably exist in parallel. But as industry leaders and as politicians, we should do everything we can to strengthen NATO and to foster the transformation of NATO forces. I am absolutely convinced that both the United States and Europe should commit themselves to open markets and free competition, and that decisions regarding this goal need to be made in the near future. However, I do not believe that Europe should accept continued unequal conditions for market access and unequal conditions for competition. 


I would like to sum up by saying we must remove the obstacles we are still facing in the area of defense cooperation. We must also build a level transatlantic playing field, a prerequisite for taking full advantage of what industry can contribute to a broader concept of global security. I am sure our discussions will be fruitful and help us to even better understand what our challenges are—and how we are to respond to them. 


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