EDA’s Steering Board in Capability Directors composition today endorsed the first edition of the Strategic Context Cases (SCC) which will guide the practical implementation of the 11 EU Capability Development Priorities approved by EDA Member States in June 2018. The SCC should ensure the priorities are implemented in a way that improves the coherence of the European capability landscape and leads to cooperative projects which contribute to close identified capability shortfalls.
The 11 SCC – one for every priority agreed last year (*) – describe in concrete terms what the current capability situation is, including the activities planned or already ongoing at national and/or multinational level in order to address the shortfalls. The outcomes of the NATO Defence Planning Process and the activities undertaken in the context of the Framework Nations Concept (FNC) are also taken into account in order to ensure coherence of output and avoid unnecessary duplication.
The SCC highlight in particular the major challenges to the coherence of the European capability landscape in each of these areas in the short, medium and long term. “We all know that there are pressing capability challenges across the whole spectrum. For example, there is a growing threat from the use of mini-drones to our military forces”, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq commented. “The SCC will provide concrete and tangible gains across the Member States in addressing this issue in the short, medium and long term”. They also provide guidance to address these challenges by offering ‘avenues of approach’ for potential cooperation between participating Member States that could help achieve the priorities and improve the coherence of the European capability landscape.
The SCC are integrating documents: each of them also reflects the R&T priorities identified in the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) and related R&T activities linked to each capability priority. Cross references of the SCC to the Key Strategic Activities (KSA) which are considered important for the implementation of the priority such as technologies, skills and industrial manufacturing capacities will be added once the KSA reports are approved by the Steering Board.
To prepare the SCC, EDA worked closely with Member States, the EU Military Committee (EUMC), the EU Military Staff (EUMS) and European industry which was consulted to collect their views on technological solutions to close identified capability gaps and face the new security challenges. The Agency also ran staff to staff meetings with NATO to ensure activities developed by participating Member States within NATO are correctly reflected.
The next step in the elaboration of the first edition of the SCC will happen in February 2020 when EDA will present to the Steering Board part two of the SCC containing roadmaps of ongoing capability development activities and possible new ones which, subject to the necessary ad-hoc decisions by Member States, could be taken forward in the Agency framework. The SCC are living documents and will be updated by EDA over time, also on the basis of Member States’ feedback, to make sure they always reflect the latest developments in the implementation of each and every priority.
In June 2018, the EDA Steering Board in Capability Directors formation endorsed the 2018 Capability Development Plan (CDP) and approved the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities. In their Council conclusions adopted on 25 June 2018, Member States agreed that “these priorities, as a key reference for Member States' and EU's capability development, will inform CARD, PESCO and the European Defence Fund, which bring a step-change in defence cooperation, thus contributing to coherence among these three distinct but mutually reinforcing initiatives”. The June 2018 Steering Board also tasked the Agency to start the preparatory work for the implementation of the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities, including with a view to the elaboration of SCC. In November 2018, the Steering Board tasked the Agency to proceed with the development of the SCC and to come up with a first edition by June 2019. Endorsed by the Steering Board, the SCC will now be forwarded to the Council as agreed by the Member States in the Council conclusions of 17 June 2019.
(*) The 11 EU Capability Development Priorities approved by Member States in 2018 relate to the following domains:
- Ground Combat Capabilities
- Enhanced Logistic and Medical Supporting Capabilities
- Naval Manoeuvrability
- Underwater Control contributing to resilience at Sea
- Air Superiority
- Air Mobility
- Integration of Military Air Capabilities in a changing Aviation Sector
- Enabling capabilities for cyber responsive operation
- Space-based information and communication services
- Information Superiority
- Cross-Domain Capabilities contributing to achieve EU’s Level of Ambition.