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MCIS Soft power panel

Russian Military Reform - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 18:47

Today’s MCIS slides installment comes from Lt. General Sergey Kuralenko, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief for Peacekeeping Operations of the Russian Ground Forces. This comes from the breakout session on soft power as a tool to pursue military-political objectives.

Sadly, it seems that the Russian MOD has not posted video or speech texts from the breakout sessions, so I’ll provide a brief summary here, in addition to the slides. Kuralenko’s speech can be summarized in three points:

  1. Russia is in Syria to help Syrians.
  2. The U.S. is in Syria to pursue its geopolitical ambitions and does not care about collateral damage.
  3. People in the military, regardless of country of origin, understand the consequences of conflict and seek to avoid it. More mil-mil contact would help to avert the worst consequences of war.

Kuralenko was followed by Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the Minister of Defense of Venezuela, who made the argument that many countries use soft power as a tool for political domination of weaker countries without having to resort to military force. He contrasted positive soft power, a tool for cooperation as practiced by Hugo Chavez when he led Venezuela, with negative soft power, as practiced by the United States for subjugation and regime change. He also helpfully pointed out that the United States was using the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela to destabilize the country and also noted that there was no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela…

The sole American speaker, Ariel Cohen, highlighted the transition of the concept of soft power from a national branding tool to a weapon. Starting from Joe Nye’s original conceptualization of soft power, he focused on soft power as a tool for expanding national influence through persuasion and attraction, rather than through military or economic pressure. Soft power is the idea that any product of human activity can be weaponized to achieve geopolitical goals.

He was followed by the Russian journalist and television personality Vladimir Soloviev, who gave a typically inflammatory speech. Soloviev opened by saying that he didn’t believe in soft power, since it can only be useful in addition to hard power rather than in and of itself. He argued that the West had rejected all of the norms of international law and had aggressively rejected diplomacy as well. He likened the West (and the United States specifically) to a casino owner telling the players what the rules should be. He accused Boris Johnson of lying about the Skripal case. His larger point was that the West was using soft power together with its technological advantages to solve its military and political issues, with the dollar being the most effective soft power tool. He argued that a new iron curtain was descending over Europe, but this time from the Western side.

Soloviev made the argument that Russia needs  to become more active in defending itself against soft power attacks. Russia, for him, has not been pushing an ideology. Furthermore, since it does not own or operate the platforms, it will always be behind.  It therefore needs to leave the casino altogether and stop playing the game.

Soloviev’s arguments were seconded by Yakov Kedmi, an Israeli expert who has developed a reputation for his pro-Russian positions. In discussing  soft power, he highlighted that power is the key word in that phrase, with the soft modifier being secondary. Soft power is used to pressure opponents or support allies in circumstances when military power can’t be used. He then argued that soft power is as illegitimate as any other use of force and should therefore be prohibited through international law and countered with military power, as that is the most effective tool against it.

After a completely unmemorable presentation by the first deputy defense minister of Argentina, the final (and best) presentation was given by Dan Smith, director of SIPRI. He countered Kedmi’s perspective quite effectively, noting that power is not the same thing as coercion or the use of force. The most effective kind of soft power is silent, intangible and irresistable. It comes from culture, economic strength, and reputation  and offers influence and helps diplomacy. At its most effective, it stops conflicts before they start. It can change the nature of the game. Soft power in the world has declined in general as trust of other countries has declined. No state has as much power today as it used to and none are viewed as models for others.

Here are Kuralenko’s slides… I’ll have one final post on MCIS later this week with overall impressions and takeaways.

MCIS slides on regional security in the Middle East and North Africa

Russian Military Reform - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:36

Today’s installment of MCIS slides comes courtesy of Sam Charap, who attended the breakout session on regional security in the MENA region. The panel was led off by Lt. General Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov, the Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff. Unfortunately, the Russian MOD has not made available speech texts or video of the breakout sessions. (I’ll have a report on Monday on the other breakout session on soft power, which I attended.)

First EDA Defence Energy Managers Course successfully concluded

EDA News - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:59

On 19th of April, 21 students from 8 Member States graduated from the first EDA Defence Energy Managers Course (DEMC). The DEMC aims at increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption in the military domain through the application of defence-specific Energy Management Systems (EnMSs) based on the ISO 50001 standard.  The DEMC is the first of its kind to be run at multi-national level and to deliver both theoretical and practical EnMS training to energy managers from European navies, armies and air forces.  

The implementation of EnMSs under DEMC resulted in saving around 2,5 GWh of energy consumed, reaching normalised reductions in energy consumptions of up to 25.2%.

The course was split into 5 distinct modules (3 classroom-type and two practical of total duration of 12 months) with this first pilot run launched in April 2017. Participants improved their know-how on the complexities of managing energy within a defence organisation. They were also able to acquire the capacity to structure, implement and improve effective EnMSs and to enhance their skills thanks to on-going mentoring, alumni relations and membership in the European Defence Energy Network (EDEN) with permanent access to its established on-line resources.

The DEMC marks another important milestone in EDA’s approach to sustainability in defence and fulfils the level of ambition of the EDA Member States for capacity building in energy management, already identified through the first round of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (sponsored by the European Commission) and the EDA’s own Energy and Environmental Working Group, developing  mainstream sustainability concepts within the defence sector as enablers for improved military capability and reduced environmental footprint of military activities.


The course began with a 5-day classroom-type session (module 1) to guide the participants with the framework and requirements of ISO 50001 EnMS standard and to familiarise them with energy data analysis techniques. Then followed a 6-month mentoring session (module 2) on the development of the core structure of the EnMSs to be applied, including visits at participating Member States’ sites, webinars and extensive one-on-one mentoring. It was followed by module 3 (3-day classroom type session) which, besides reviewing the progress made so far, further elaborated on the EnMS requirements especially related to training, design, procurement, operations (including deployments). The subsequent 5-month mentoring session (module 4), included site visits, during which energy internal audits were  conducted, coupled with further support though webinars and tailored guidance. The concluding 3-day classroom type module (module 5) focused on reviewing the developed EnMSs and providing further guidance on operational control issues related to energy.

The pilot run of the Defence Energy Managers’ Course (DEMC – Pilot) was attended by MoD / Armed Forces’ personnel from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and The  Netherlands. During this pilot course, the EnMS concept was developed and is currently applied at 10 military installations of diverse uses (from military academies to armoured vehicles’ camps and naval depos).

With such a successful outcome of the DEMC - Pilot, up to 6 steady state DEMC could be envisaged over the next 3 years. The steady state courses will build upon the pilot course taking into account gained experience, recommendations and feedback from participating Member States. 

The project is delivered by GEN Europe and the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources & Savings (CRES). It is run by the European Defence Agency’s Innovative Research Unit.

More information: 





Russian Volga-Dnepr leaves SALIS

CSDP blog - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:29

From January 1, 2019, the Russian Volga will cease providing AN-124 capacity for EU and NATO states under NATO's heavy military air transport program SALIS (Strategic Airlift Interim Solution), which includes 17 European member states and Canada. The loss is sensitive: Under Salis, Antonov and Volga have each had an AN-124 permanently stationed at Leipzig-Halle Airport since March 2006, with additional uplift available at short notice.

Unfortunately, the SALIS Program Office did not succeed in overcoming the Russian withdrawal, despite the long negotiations. The move comes just over a year after the Russian freighter operator announced the end of the near-decade-long Russlan collaboration to market AN-124 capacity with Ukraine’s Antonov. A move thought to be in response to western sanctions on Russian companies. Negotiations conducted by the Salis steering board last week failed to avert the withdrawal. After Volga-Dnepr subsidiary AirBridgeCargo lost about half its 21 landing slots at Schiphol last year, Russia reportedly threatened to ban Dutch carriers from its airspace. Shortly after, KLM struck a deal with ABC over additional slots.

The ending of the Salis contract puts pressure on NATO and the EU, which need access to the world’s largest commercial cargo aircraft. This is a serious loss of capacity: the Ukrainian An-124s of Antonov's air transport industry are only flying 900 flights per year - the largest fleet with two Russian aircraft has been available to SALIS's designers for up to 2300 hours per year.

There is always the possibility that the withdrawal is part of a larger play by Volga-Dnepr president Alexey Isaikin, who is looking to set up a German cargo airline, with AN-124s registered in Germany, at Leipzig. By registering an AN-124 to a German company, the Volga-Dnepr group would no longer be caught in the crossfire of political skirmishes between Russia and elsewhere, which includes problems with Antonov maintenance. And as an EU company, it might get preferential treatment for military shipments over Ukraine’s Antonov. It also adds pressure on Germany, which is keen to develop Leipzig-Halle as a freight airport, to OK the new airline’s AOC and aircraft registration. (Although as one source told The Loadstar, Lufthansa Cargo was unlikely to welcome a new freighter airline on its doorstep, and would “go ape-shit”.)

Tag: SALISVolga-Dnepr

MCIS presentation on Asia-Pacific security problems

Russian Military Reform - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:34

One more set of slides today, this one from a speech by Vice Admiral Igor Kostyukov, the first deputy chief of the Main Directorate of the Russian General Staff, on the topic of security in the Asia-Pacific region. MCIS has put on its website the text of his speech in Russian and video in Russian only.

Funding Energy, Circular Economy, REACH and Environment in Defence

EDA News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 12:19

EDA's "European Funding Gateway for Defence" (EFGD) now provides defence stakeholders with guidance on European funding available for Circular Economy, REACH-related substitution of hazardous chemical substances, Energy and Environmental Management in Defence.

Our comprehensive funding gateway has been updated with information on grants, loans and risk capital available for the Defence sector under the following EU Programmes:

  • LIFE,
  • Cohesion Fund (ESIF) and
  • ELENA (Horizon 2020 - as deployed by the European Investment Bank).
More information:


Quick thoughts on Syria strike

Russian Military Reform - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 15:00

I wrote this up quickly on Saturday for friends, and it seemed to get a positive reaction, so I decided to expand a bit and send it out to the wider world…

The United States (and the Trump administration) came out well. The would saw a measured response that showed US willingness to follow up words with actions, while also showing that Trump’s rash tweets do not equal rash actions (at least vis-a-vis Russia). Jim Mattis in particular showed that he is the chief voice of reason and restraining figure in the administration.

At the same time, the strikes accomplished little in practical terms. Syria’s ability to make and use chemical weapons was largely unaffected, because what they are using now is chlorine gas, rather than the sarin that was made in its chemical weapons program prior to 2013. Chlorine gas is much easier to make and is almost certainly made at sites other than the ones that were targeted (and even if it was being made there, it can relatively easily be made elsewhere).

For this reason, Syria (and Assad) also came out well. For the price of a few destroyed buildings they got to take over Douma and wipe out the last rebel controlled zone near Damascus. The main question is the extent to which the strikes will deter Assad from using chemical weapons in the future. My guess is that there will be some short-term deterrent effect (because of worries that the next strike will be more damaging), but little long-term effect — because of beliefs that US memories fade and because of cost-benefit calculations that show that use of chemical weapons in certain situations is highly effective in demoralizing enemies and causing them to surrender (see Douma) while also forcing somewhat reluctant allies such as Russia to publicly support Assad.

Russia is a (minor) loser for this round — Russian officials made big loud statements early on, but then clearly got scared of being painted into a corner and started backing off a few days ago. In the end, the situation showed that Russia cannot deter the United States from hitting an ally, but it can limit the extent of the strike and the choice of targets. Also, Syria’s (older) Russian-made air defenses were completely ineffective, while potentially more effective modern air defenses under Russian control were not activated. In other words, the US strikes clearly showed both the extent and the limits of Russian influence in the region. Russian leaders clearly care about this image problem, thus the somewhat ridiculous statements about Syrian air defenses successfully intercepting US missiles supposedly aimed at airfields that the US and its allies did not target.

The military balance in the region is clearly revealed. In a few days, the US and its allies were able to gather a set of forces that are much stronger than what Russia could bring to bear in the region. This is not the early 1970s, when much of the world believed that the Soviet Union could more or less match the maximum US presence in the Eastern Med (even if present-day Russian analysts are skeptical about the actual strength of Russian military forces in the region at the time). The Russian military (in terms of conventional forces) is stronger than it was a few years ago and is more than a match for any of its other adversaries, but it’s still far weaker than the US military.

Finally, the impact of the strike on US domestic politics is pretty certainly going to be short-term and very limited. Some of Trump’s isolationist allies on the far right were appalled and highly critical, but they will come back to the fold soon enough since they have no alternative to supporting Trump. What’s more, Democratic politicians’ critiques that the attack should not have been done without Congressional authorization are not likely to last long, because actually having that debate in Congress is not in their interest politically (which way to vote — to authorize Trump to use force or to allow other countries to carry out chemical weapons attacks with impunity?). Better to just carp from the sidelines on this issue and go back to the various scandals after a couple of days.

So, to sum up, the world avoided a big international crisis through a combination of US restraint, Russian desire to avoid escalation in a situation where it did not have escalation dominance, and good use of US-Russian deconfliction channels. The strike itself was not particularly effective at achieving its stated goals vis-a-vis Syria, but was good at signaling US intent and capabilities for the future (including the limits of that intent). The major problem that remains is that given what I described above, Assad is unlikely to have been deterred from future use of chemical weapons and therefore we may well be back in the same place again a few months or a year from now.

Cyber defence conference organised by the Bulgarian EU Presidency and EDA

EDA News - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 14:53

The International Conference on Cyber Defence – Building a Rapid Response will be held in the Central Military Club, Sofia, Bulgaria, from 13 to 14 June 2018. This event is co-organised by the Bulgarian EU Presidency and the European Defence Agency (EDA).

The aim of the Conference is to highlight the requirements and solutions for a rapid response to cyber defence crises and how the associated challenges can be met through different research and technology, education, training and exercises initiatives at EU level.

The conference will offer an excellent knowledge-sharing opportunity within the gathering of representatives from governments, EU, academia, Armed Forces, industry, and innovation centers.

The conference will comprise presentations on operational challenges together with presentations by industry start-ups, small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), cyber defence companies, government structures, and academic institutions.  The topics to be discussed will be related with the following thematic areas:

  • setting the requirements for rapid response
  • rapid response solutions
  • research and innovation on cyber cefence
  • training, developing and exercising a Rapid Response Force
  • cross-sectorial cooperation on EU civil-military synergies
  • the new EU Cyber Defence Education, Training, Exercise and Evaluation Platform 

Call for papers 

A call for papers on topics of interest has been published here. Accepted papers will be presented at the conference.

For more detailed information, please visit the Conference website.


MCIS 2018 Belarusian Defense Minister slides

Russian Military Reform - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 13:27

Today’s installment of slides comes from the speech of Belarusian Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov. While last year, Ravkov’s speech immediately followed and was largely complementary to Valery Gerasimov’s speech, which focused on European Security, this year he got to headline the panel on European Security himself. This was convenient for his staff, as they didn’t have to change the title slide at all, and really only made superficial modifications to a number of other slides. Compare the slides below to last year’s slides. I guess as far as Belarus is concerned, European security hasn’t changed much over the last year. The Ravkov speech is available on video in Russian and English.

EDA’s new SME Corner now online

EDA News - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:51

The SME Corner at the EDA website has been redesigned to make it an even more comprehensive and reader-friendly source of information on EDA defence industry related matters for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME-policy makers. 

The new SME Corner has two main building blocks: (1) industry opportunities and (2) government opportunities. Among many other things, interested parties can find there valuable information about how to get involved in European defence research and capability development as well as guidance and practical advice on how to benefit from existing EDA cooperation opportunities or access EU funding. The SME Corner will be updated and refreshed continuously in order to keep pace with upcoming initiatives of interest to the SME community.

Background: EDA and SMEs

In line with its new approach on industry engagement approved in May 2017, EDA continuously works on topics relevant to SMEs which are the backbone of Europe’s economy and therefore of strategic importance. SMEs count for about 99% of Europe’s businesses and of each euro of added value created in the EU, 58 cents can be attributed to SMEs. Since SMEs are equally important for all EDA Member States, all of them share a common interest in utilizing SME’s innovative and competitive potential for improving Europe’s defence capabilities.

In operational terms, EDA seeks mainly to:

  • tap into the innovation potential of SMEs and harvest it for the sake of developing, maintaining and using defence capabilities;
  • facilitate cross-border cooperation among industry in defence research and capability development;
  • create new opportunities for industry to build supply chains across Europe;
  • strengthen the competitiveness of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) in general, and of the SMEs in particular.

Chief Executive Domecq visits Switzerland

EDA News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:57

EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq arrived in Berne on 10 April for a two days working visit. During the visit, Mr Domecq has met with Nathalie Falcone-Goumaz, Secretary-General of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Martin Sonderegger, the National Armaments Director, as well as other high-level representatives of the national administration, defence industry and universities. Discussions focused on Switzerland’s current and potential future contributions to EDA projects and programmes as well as on the latest defence initiatives on EU level. This was a follow up to Mr Domecq's meeting with the Swiss Minister of Defence that took place in the margins of the Munich Security Conference on 16 February 2018. 

Switzerland concluded a framework for cooperation with the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2012 enabling it to participate in EDA projects and programmes on a case by case basis. Mr Domecq welcomed the opportunity to discuss EDA initiatives with representatives from the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Armasuisse as well as the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Further discussions were held with representatives of the Swiss defence industry, research institutes and universities. 

The meeting with Secretary-General Falcone-Goumaz included discussions on the general state of play of the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence of the EU Global Strategy including the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund, with focus of the discussions on EDA's role in all three initiatives. 

National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger and Jorge Domecq further conferred over Switzerland’s contributions to EDA work. Recently, Switzerland joined an innovative research & technology project in the land domain (PASEI - Protection of Autonomous Systems Against Enemy Interference). An additional project in the area of CBRN and Human Factors is under consideration. Switzerland has also demonstrated interest in participating in EDA's Capability Technolgy Groups as well as on activities where EDA acts as a military interface to EU policies such as on chemicals (REACH), Single European Sky or energy topics. Other possible areas for cooperation investigated were on cyber as well as opportunities in the land sector. 


More information:

MCIS 2018 Sergei Rudskoi slides

Russian Military Reform - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 20:52

Well, it’s time once again for the annual slide show of presentations from the Moscow Conference on International Security. This was my fifth time attending. I’ll write up some overall impressions later in the week. Sadly, Valery Gerasimov was absent this year, supposedly because he was accompanying Vladimir Putin during his state visit to Turkey.  His spot on the program was filled by Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi, the chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, speaking about Russia’s operation in Syria. His speech is, as usual available on YouTube in both English and Russian versions. MCIS has also posted a Russian transcript. The slides are below, though some can also be viewed (including animations) in the linked videos.

(All in all, if ability to make use of advanced features of PowerPoint is a proxy for Russian military modernization, the West should be concerned, because the Russian General Staff has made giant strides in this regard in the last five years. I would estimate the gap between the best Russian and American powerpoint rangers at no more than 10 years now.)

OCEAN2020 kick-off meeting at EDA

EDA News - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 16:15

On 10 and 11 April 2018 the kick-off meeting of the OCEAN2020 project is held at the European Defence Agency (EDA). More than 70 representatives from the 42 consortium partners participate in the meeting. OCEAN2020 is the largest of the three projects selected in the 2017 call for proposals for the EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR).

OCEAN2020’s main objective is to support maritime surveillance and interdiction missions at sea. In this regard the project will integrate enhanced air, naval surface and underwater unmanned systems into fleet operations to build up a recognised maritime picture of developing situations for military commanders.

The project is run by a consortium led by Leonardo S.p.A, bringing together 42 partners from 15 EU countries. The total amount of the grant is €35.5 million funded by the European Union. During his opening address, Jorge Domecq, EDA Chief Executive stressed the importance of the project to demonstrate the importance of cooperative defence research for Europe. 

The two-day meeting is dedicated to discussing programmatic and technical activities of the project. A large set of deliverables are foreseen to be prepared within six months and all the actors demonstrate a broad commitment to achieve this first milestone. The discussions are geared to consolidate a solid modus operandi in order to coordinate such a big group of experts from all over Europe and from different organisations. The second day is entirely dedicated to the presentation of the technical activities in the six work packages composing the project.

During the project two live demonstrations will be conducted in combination with operational military exercises – one in the Mediterranean sea led by the Italian navy in 2019 and one in the Baltic sea in 2020 led by the Swedish navy.


The Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) is funded by the European Union. The PADR activities are run by  the European Defence Agency (EDA) following the mandate of a Delegation Agreement between the Commission and EDA signed on 31st May 2017. By this agreement  the Commission entrusts EDA with the management and implementation of the research projects to be launched within the PADR.
The PADR is a concrete step aimed at assessing and demonstrating the added-value of EU supported defence research and technology (R&T). The relevant results are expected to further deepen European defence cooperation, addressing capability shortfalls, and to strengthen European defence stakeholders.

The European Commission launched the PADR with a view of developing a future European Defence Research Programme (EDRP) as part of the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).

More information:

5th European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training takes off in the Netherlands

EDA News - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 14:39

The 5th European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training exercise (EART 2018) kicked off today 9 April at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands. EART 2018 brings together tankers from Germany, the Netherlands, France and - for the first time - from a non-European country, the United States, for a two week training exercise ending on 20 April. 

The European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training (EART) concept was introduced in 2014 under the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) air-to-air refuelling initiative, and is run by the European Air Transport Command (EATC) from Eindhoven airbase. The exercise is supported by the host nation (the Netherlands), the Eindhoven-based Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) and EDA. 

EART is organised on a yearly basis in combination with the ‘Frisian Flag’ fighter training exercise, also organized by the Netherlands, that operates from Leeuwarden Airbase. The objective is to train air crews and engineers in planning and executing complex air-to-air refuelling (AAR) operations in a multinational and realistic COMAO (composite air operation) environment, with the overall aim of enhancing effectiveness and interoperability of forces. A particular focus is also put on facilitating the certification processes between tankers and receiver aircraft. The exercise director for EART 2018 is Colonel Andrea Massucci (Italian Air Force).


Eindhoven for two weeks “tanker town of Europe”

AAR is a significant force enabler and multiplier as it enhances combat effectiveness by extending the range, payload and endurance of receiver aircraft. It allows air power to be projected at greater distances or concentrated where and when it is needed mostly. “Air-to-air refueling capacity is the backbone of modern day air power. Without it, we don’t do much. Air power continuously needs fuel”, said Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Oostema, Head of Operations at Eindhoven air base. 

However, delivering a guaranteed, continuous coverage of air-to-air refueling capacity is challenging. “That’s why we need to train together. The European air-to-air refuelling Training (EART) at Eindhoven air base provides us with that unique opportunity”, Lieutenant-Colonel Oostema stressed. “For two weeks Eindhoven air base will be the tanker town of Europe”.


Background: EDA’s global approach on AAR

EDA has developed a global approach on AAR with three objectives: optimizing the use of assets, increasing the overall AAR capacity and reducing fragmentation of the fleet. This work has led to three complementary work-strands, on some of which EDA is cooperating closely with other agencies and organizations like OCCAR, the Movement Coordination Center Europe (MCCE) and the European Air Transport Command (EATC).

EART 2018 is part of the first work strand (optimization of existing capabilities), which is achieved by supporting training exercises. In this domain, EDA has also taken the lead to streamline the different certification processes leading to a clearance. By standardizing these processes the different aviation authorities can easily identify the differences between their own process and their counterpart. By working closely together, already fielded capabilities and future capabilities, can work more cost efficiently and increase their operational output.  


More information:  

EU announces Action Plan on Military Mobility

EDA News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 15:11

Facilitating the movement of military troops and assets is essential for the security of European citizens, as identified in the November 2017 Joint Communication on improving military mobility in the EU and called for in the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy. Today the High Representative & Head of the European Defence Agency and the European Commission announced an Action Plan on military mobility, based on the European Defence Agency’s Roadmap, identifying a series of operational measures to tackle physical, procedural or regulatory barriers which hamper military mobility. Working closely with the EU Member States and all relevant actors will be key for the implementation of this Action Plan.

Successful EDA projects such as the EU Multimodal Transport Hub and the Diplomatic Clearances initiative for military air transport demonstrated the advantages of a coordinated European approach to military movement. What was missing was a consistent approach allowing military personnel and equipment to cross borders swiftly and smoothly. The EDA’s Roadmap formed the basis of the EU’s Action Plan, and the Agency looks forward to being one of the key actors of its implementation”, said Jorge Domecq, EDA Chief Executive.

The Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Defence Agency will work in close coordination with the Member States for the effective implementation of these actions. They will be carried out in full respect of the sovereignty of Member States over their national territory and national decision-making processes. Coordination with efforts under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the separate PESCO project on military mobility will equally be ensured. Cooperation and consultation with NATO on issues of military mobility will be further pursued in the framework of the implementation of the Joint Declaration to ensure coherence and synergies.

The Action Plan is submitted to the EU Member States for consideration and endorsement. The first actions are expected to be carried out in the coming months.

A first progress report on the implementation of this Action Plan will be presented to the Member States by summer 2019. 

Further reading

EU COSME funds transnational defence cluster partnerships

EDA News - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 10:56

For the first time ever, the EU COSME Programme is awarding grants to clusters partnering in the defence and security sector.

Two transnational defence-related cluster partnerships, whose members have been working with EDA, informed the Agency that they have started negotiation of a grant agreement in view of being awarded COSME funding under a European Commission’s call for proposals, managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME):

  • the “ALLIANCE” (Alliance for International Business Development of Advanced Materials and CoNnectivity for DefenCe and SEcurity Market), whose strategic and technical director is the French defence-related cluster SAFE and is coordinated by the TECHTERA (French Cluster on advanced materials and composites). Other partners are OTIR 2020 (Italian Cluster on technical textiles), CITTA STUDI (Italian Cluster on technical textiles), NIDV (Netherlands Cluster on Defense and Security), SIIT (Italian Cluster on Defense and Security), SCS (French Cluster on ICT and Cyber Security);
  • the “EU KETS4DUAL-USE” (EUropean Key Enabling Technologies for Dual-Use worldwide), led by OPTITEC, French photonics & imaging cluster active in the defence sector, partnering with the Estonian Defence Industry Association, CenSec (Denmark) and Minalogic (France).

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has played a precursor and facilitating role:

  • in 2016, an EDA preliminary study explored the potential of the EU COSME Programme for defence and was the first to make a clear case for defence-related clusters’ eligibility under this EU funding programme;
  • since its start, this study has involved a number of clusters, included the two winning consortia, and showcased their participation on EDA’s “COSME platform”;
  • the Commission’s call for proposals makes explicit reference to EDA in order to identify eligible defence clusters;
  • EDA organised two matchmaking events addressing this funding opportunity in 2017; several members of the above-mentioned consortia have attended;
  • EDA’s recently released “European Funding Gateway” lists COSME grants as opportunities for the defence sector.


For more information:


PADR Info & Brokerage Day: registration now open!

EDA News - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 16:23

Registration for the upcoming Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) Info & Brokerage Day 2018, scheduled to take place in Brussels on 12 April 2018, is now open HERE.  

Representatives from industry, research entities and other defence stakeholders interested in receiving detailed information related to the recently published 2018 PADR calls for proposals, and in networking with potential consortia partners have until 5 April 2018 (5pm Brussels time) to register.

EDA and Commission experts will provide attendants with first-hand explanations on the 2018 PADR topics as well as the rules and conditions for participation in the calls for proposals. Furthermore, in the afternoon, a brokerage session with b2b meetings will allow participants to exchange views with potential future consortia partners.

Details about the calls and participation conditions can be found here.

The Preparatory Action on Defence Research is funded by the European Union.


More information:


2018 Calls for proposals on Preparatory Action on Defence Research published - Info & Brokerage Day on 12 April

EDA News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:43

The European Defence Agency (EDA) today, 15 March, published the three 2018 calls for proposals for the EU’s Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR).

The work programme includes 3 topics:

  • European high-performance, trustable (re)configurable system-on-a-chip or system-in-package components for defence applications;
  • European high power laser effector;
  • Strategic technology foresight, tackling the issue of the critical defence technological dependencies for the EU.

Details about the calls and participation conditions can be found here

The Preparatory Action on Defence Research is funded by the European Union. On 9 March 2018, the European Commission adopted the decision on the “work programme for 2018 and on the financing of the 'Preparatory action on Defence research', and authorising the use of unit costs under the preparatory action ”.

Info & Brokerage Day on 12 April

After a first successful edition in 2017, EDA and the European Commission will organise a second Information Day & Brokerage Event on the PADR on 12 April 2018 in Brussels. 

Registration will be possible via this webpage as of 21 March 2018.

The event aims at providing industry, research entities and other interested defence stakeholders with first-hand information on the 2018 PADR calls for proposals published on 15 March 2018.

EDA and Commission experts will provide attendants with detailed explanations on the 2018 PADR topics as well as the rules and conditions for participation in the calls for proposals. Furthermore, in the afternoon, a brokerage session with b2b meetings will allow participants to exchange views with potential future consortia partners. 


More information:   

EDA supports defence acquisition training

EDA News - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 16:29

The European Defence Agency supports the first Central and Eastern European (CEE) Armaments Cooperation Course which takes place in Prague from 13-16 March 2018, gathering some 30 delegates from 10 CEE Member States. Sponsored and led by the Czech Republic and delivered by Cranfield University’s Centre for Defence Acquisition, the course will strengthen the practical skills of staff from CEE Ministries of Defence (MoDs) and related agencies in defence procurement procedures, with an emphasis on multinational collaboration.

The 2013 European Council stressed the need for a balanced access to defence industry in Europe, as a result of which EDA conducted an internal analysis of the specificities of the CEE countries’ defence industries and commissioned a study from RAND Europe to better understand  the barriers to defence cooperation across Europe. The study identified several areas of concern and noted that the CEE countries face a common challenge in accessing the skills needed to pursue defence collaboration opportunities, with identified shortfalls in areas such as project and programme management, marketing and networking, market intelligence and business planning.

The course represents a tangible and tailor-made opportunity for CEE Member States to improve their capacity in all these areas . It comes at a time of transformational change across the European defence landscape with the advent of several new initiatives such as the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), Permanent Structure Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). It will serve as a springboard for the CEE countries to participate more effectively in collaboration efforts and will underpin an alumni network that will provide on-going advice on best practice and longer term networking opportunities.

The course is designed for military and civilian officials working on defence acquisition issues.

More information:


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