2021 has been a year of significant developments in the security and defence domain, both for Europe and the EU institutions in general, and for the European Defence Agency (EDA) in particular.
Amid rising threats in an increasingly tense geo-strategic environment, especially along the EU’s borders (build-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine), EDA was involved last year in all major efforts to bring EU defence cooperation forward: from the preparation of the Strategic Compass (eventually adopted this week) and ministerial discussions on defence innovation, to the implementation of PESCO and European Defence Fund (EDF) sponsored projects and the launch of the second Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) cycle. The 2021 Annual Report, published today, provides a comprehensive overview of the work accomplished in EDA’s various activity domains throughout the past year.
The report reflects the progress made in the wide spectrum of the Agency’s activities, from its central role in the implementation of the EU defence initiatives (CARD, PESCO, EDF) and the increasing number of defence research and capability development projects and programmes (+11% compared to 2020), to the launch of new enablers and incentives for defence cooperation and EDA’s growing interface role towards wider EU policies.
From Personnel Recovery to Cyber Defence and C-IED exercise
Among the many 2021 highlights was the Agency’s successful involvement in the multinational Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) Exercise ‘Bison Counter21’ hosted by Italy in Sardinia. The Agency also prepared the launch, in 2022, of a new EDA Bison Counter C-IED Exercises Capability Building (BC-EX) project which foresees at least three additional exercises in 2023, 2025 and 2027.
2021 also saw EDA taking over the role of project manager for two important Cyber Defence and Communication & Information Services (CIS) projects financed under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP): one aimed at developing a European Cyber Situation Awareness Platform (ECYSAP), and other one meant to develop a European Command and Control System from strategic to tactical level (ESC2).
EDA’s prototype Tactical Personnel Recovery Mission Simulator (TPRMS) was inaugurated in November 2021 at Italian Air Base Poggio Renatico. The new Virtual Reality-based simulator, which allows Personnel Recovery teams to collectively rehearse tactics, techniques and procedures in a risk-free environment, marks a significant achievement as no such capability currently exists within Europe.
The PDF version of the 2021 Annual Report can be downloaded here.