Trial Run conclusions, recommendations and preliminary lessons identified
The conclusions of the CARD Trial Run can be summarised as follows:
● the bilateral dialogues were particularly well received by Member States as evidenced by reactions in the various fora where the aggregated analysis and the report were presented. These meetings allowed Member States, EDA and the EUMS to engage in discussions on collective defence expenditure, operational commitments, the implementation of EU Capability Development Priorities and potential collaborative opportunities;
● the CARD made use of all information available to EDA in view of limiting – to all possible extents – additional requests for information to Member States, thereby reducing the administrative burden on Member States. Some gaps were identified, particularly with respect to forward-looking financial information, highlighting the need for accurate and high-quality data to drive the analysis;
● the CARD Trial Run highlighted the fact that Member States still carry out defence planning and acquisition mostly from a national perspective. The EU needs to move from ad hoc multinational projects towards a systematic and structured alignment of Member States’ defence planning. Member States do cooperate, but an accurate and comprehensive EU overview on which areas, to what extent and with whom, is still lacking.
CARD Trial Run recommendations on the European defence expenditure landscape
Pursuing further consistency in defence spending and promoting a European technologically innovative capacity, the CARD Trial Run recommendations on the European defence expenditure landscape propose that Member States include in their multi-year defence plans voluntary national objectives regarding the annual growth rates of their defence budget and R&T expenditure, as well as concrete measures aimed at rebalancing defence expenditure in favour of investment programmes and enhancing their participation in collaborative projects.
CARD Trial Run recommendations on the European capability development landscape
The recommendations focusing on the European capability development landscape propose that participating Member States aim for greater coherence between their national capability development plans, including on timelines, engage more in cooperative activities, and consider channelling invest ment s on medical capabilities into ensuring a European capability in support of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations.
The report also invites Member States to enhance their participation in European collaborative projects, notably making best use of the recently established EU defence initiatives such as PESCO, the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PARD), the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and soon the European Defence Fund (EDF).
Preliminary lessons identified
Preliminary lessons identified focus on the mutual benefits of the CARD bilateral dialogues, the challenging timelines of the CARD Trial Run and potential improvements in data collection, especially with regard to forward looking financial data and collaborative expenditure. Furthermore it is acknowledged that the coherence of output between the CARD as well as the Capability Development Plan, and respective NATO processes, such as NDPP has been and will continue to be ensured where requirements overlap, while recognising the different nature of the two organisations and their respective responsibilities.
CARD as the cornerstone of recent EU security and defence initiatives
“The CARD is an essential intermediate step in the overall EU capability development process”, stresses EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq. Several new EU security and defence initiatives where launched quasi simultaneously – the CDP revision, CARD and PESCO. The coherence between these initiatives must be ensured and the way they affect each other is not only to be understood but purposefully planned.
“A coherent approach from priority setting to output is important and adequate sequencing is critical to ensure that the different steps of the overall approach reinforce each other. In a somewhat simplistic manner, we could say that the CDP tells us what to focus our common efforts on, the CARD gives us an overview of where we stand and identifies next steps, PESCO in turn gives us options on how to do it in a collaborative manner, while the EDF could provide the funds to support the implementation of cooperative defence projects in general, but with a bonus, if in PESCO”, Mr Domecq explains.
‘Pathfinder’ for cooperation opportunities
The CARD introduces a monitoring mechanism, driven by Member States and one of the major expectations of the CARD is to act as a pathfinder in the identification of opportunities, where Member States can join their efforts in collaboratively developing or procuring defence assets. The CARD will be built-up incrementally over time and will play a crucial role in providing a comprehensive picture of Member States’ defence plans and capabilities, the state of play regarding collaboration, as well as progress towards EU priorities. It will help identify Member States’ needs through a structured review process which can lead to cooperative projects. This is the point where the CARD connects to PESCO.
Under PESCO a lot has been done in a very short timeframe. It is however important to underline that PESCO is much more than an umbrella for projects, it is primarily about common planning, increasing spending, collaborating more, and using existing capabilities, if needed, all in a structured and more efficient manner.