The first meeting of the newly created European Defence Standardisation Committee (EDSC) was held recently at EDA (via videoconference). The new body, which replaces the former Materiel Standardisation Group, will support and coordinate participating Member States’ efforts to move towards enhanced European defence standardisation with the aim of facilitating CSDP missions & operations and strengthening the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB).
The EDSC’s goal is to coordinate and – over time – define practical and tangible deliverables that will support collaborative defence capability development, enhancing standardisation processes towards ensuring an up-to-date Defence Standardisation policy. One of the novel approaches of the new committee is to interact with a wider range of standardisation stakeholders, bringing together participating Member States with high-level representatives from various EU institutions, international organisations, industry associations and even relevant non-EU stakeholders of the defence standardisation community.
The first EDSC meeting, which took place on 27 October, gathered representatives from 17 countries (participating EDA Member States as well as Ukraine, which has signed an Administrative Agreement with EDA and is a regular EDSC member), the European Commission (DG DEFIS), the EU Military Staff (EUMS), NATO Standardisation Office (NSO), the European Committee for Standardization and Electrotechnical Standardization (CEN-CENELEC), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) as well as the standardisation body for the European aerospace industry (ASD-STAN). They agreed on some key future actions to support the European Defence Standardisation Strategy and its implementation plan, namely by creating expert forums for the restructuring of the European Defence Standardisation governance, such as the European Defence Standardisation Management Group (EDSMG), a body that will serve to bridge the strategic decisions with the practical implementing of the European Defence Standardisation Strategy at expert level.
Participants of the first EDSC meeting also discussed the upcoming launch of an EDA study, which will analyse the European Defence Standards Reference System (EDSTAR), a web platform set up by EDA in 2011, which offers guidance to governmental organisations and defence industry on the use of roughly 2,500 standards and “standard-like” specifications to optimise effectiveness, efficiency, and interoperability of their application. The EDSTAR review is one of the actions foreseen under the standardisation implementation plan. The aim of the study is to assess whether EDSTAR is still the most appropriate and efficient online standardisation tool for supporting the full spectrum of EU defence cooperation, interoperability, and capabilities development. EDSTAR study’s results will serve as a basis for deciding on the way ahead in European defence standardisation.
Overall, EDSC decision outcomes will draw comprehensive roadmaps for European defence standardisation in the years to come. The next EDSC meeting in 2021 will have important standardisation actors on board, such as the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) – following the recent contribution agreements signed between the European Commission and OCCAR for management of defence ESSOR projects – and other key international civilian and military standardisation bodies.