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2013 The German Marshall Fund of the United States. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Please direct inquiries to: The German Marshall Fund of the United States 1744 R Street, NW Washington, DC 20009 T 1 202 683 2650 F 1 202 265 1662 E This publication can be downloaded for free at Limited print copies are also available. To request a copy, send an e-mail to GMF Paper Series The GMF Paper Series presents research on a variety of transatlantic topics by staff, fellows, and partners of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of GMF. Comments from readers are welcome; reply to the mailing address above or by e-mail to About the Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellowship This paper is the final product of the authors Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellowship. The German Marshall Fund of the United States launched this program in 2011 to honor Ronald D. Asmus, GMF Brussels office executive director and director of strategic planning. Asmus, a renowned policy entrepreneur who dedicated his life to the principle of freedom, passed away on April 30, 2011. Asmus Fellows must be U.S. or European citizens under the age of 40. The fellowship enables them to pursue a project that they believe will address an important foreign or economic policy issue and will advance transatlantic cooperation. Over the course of the year, Asmus Fellows will utilize existing GMF activities and networks to advance their policy questions and to frame policy alternatives before summarizing their results by the years end. More information can be found at http://www. About GMF The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) strengthens transatlantic cooperation on regional, national, and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan. GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working in the transatlantic sphere, by convening leaders and members of the policy and business communities, by contributing research and analysis on transatlantic topics, and by providing exchange opportunities to foster renewed commitment to the transatlantic relationship. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies. Founded in 1972 as a non-partisan, non-profit organization through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has offices in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, Warsaw, and Tunis. GMF also has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, and Stockholm. On the cover: Beach in Hel, Poland. Dominik Pabis

Exit Venus: Europe Needs to be Stronger about Defense

Foreign Policy Papers December 2013

By Merle Maigre1

Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1 Merle Maigre is the security policy advisor to the president of Estonia. From 2010 to 2012, she was part of the NATO secretary generals Policy Planning Unit at NATO. She previously worked as a researcher at the International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, Estonia; as deputy head of the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv, Ukraine; and at the Estonian Ministry of Defence. Maigre has a masters degree in war studies from Kings College London. She is grateful to Daniel Twining (GMF) and Anthony Lawrence and Tomas Jermalavicius (International Centre for Defence Studies) for their valuable comments and constructive criticism.

Executive Summary

he economic crisis has had a significant and detrimental impact on Europes defense capability. Defense budgets in the Persian Gulf, East and South Asia, and Russia are growing enormously, often by double-digit margins, while Europe is on the brink of falling into military irrelevance. Only a small number of European armed forces are available for deployment, and this percentage falls below the usability target set by NATO and accepted by the EU. NATOs main task to reassure member states and to deter enemies requires that allies have military forces of a certain minimum quality and quantity. If the gap between NATOs ambitions and its available means

grows wide, the alliances credibility suffers and the solidarity is undermined. NATO and EU, as well as member nations individually, have a lot to bring into the defense debate. The EU summit on security and defense in December 2013 could help lay groundwork for building a strong Europe, which above all requires strong political will. Clearly, it will take a lot to persuade European populations of the continuing relevance of defense when other challenges seem so much more immediate and important. Nevertheless, the EU and NATO politicians should make a better effort in building a narrative that helps to assure people why stronger defense is in their interest.

Exit Venus



n the summer of 2011, then U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his valedictory speech in Brussels, alerted NATO allies to the demilitarization of Europe.1 Since 2008, Europe has lost much of its motivation to project hard military power due to a combination of financial crisis and lack of political will. European countries have been decreasing defense budgets without co-ordination or consultation and without consideration of how indi vidual national cutbacks taken together would affect European military efficiency as a whole.2 If this trend continues, Europe is moving toward a combination of the unable and the unwilling.3 In March 2013, the last U.S. tank departed from Germany.4 This was a symbolic move: U.S. land forces leave Europe and return home. The U.S.
1 Robert Gates, speech on The Future of NATO, Brussels, June 10, 2011. 2 These tendencies are best captured by Nick Witney, Where Does CSDP Fit in EU Foreign Policy?, February 13, 2013 http:// 3 Camille Grand in Steven Erlanger, Shrinking Europe Military Spending Stirs Concern, The New York Times, April 22, 2013, europe/europes-shrinking-military-spending-under-scrutiny. html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 4 John Vandiver, U.S. Armys Last Tank Departs from Germany, Stars and Stripes, April 04, 2013, http://www.stripes. com/news/us-army-s-last-tanks-depart-from-germany-1.214977

footprint in Europe has become smaller, as the European allies are shrinking their own militaries. The NATO Secretary Generals 2012 Annual Report cautioned that if the negative defense spending trend of member countries continued, NATOs military capacity and political credibility could be put at risk.5 With two important security policy events in the next ten months the EU Summit on defense and security in December 2013 and the NATO Summit in September 2014 it is time for a serious rethink about European security policy. Where does the road ahead lead and what can be done about it? This paper describes the challenges that Europe faces and analyses how this affects the transatlantic security relationship. It then recommends ways to maintain support for the transatlantic alliance in the United States, outlines the European Unions opportunity to reinvigorate the defense debate, and suggests a broader and stronger strategic narrative to explain why defense issues still matter.

5 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Foreword The Secretary Generals Annual Report 2012, http://

Exit Venus



Europe is not Investing Enough in Defense

ilitary capabilities in a number of European countries have been significantly affected by the economic crisis. Since 2008, EU countries combined have reduced their defense spending from 200 to 170 billion. At the same time, savings that are estimated to be 200 to 300 million remain modest.6 The problem is also not how much Europe spends, but how it spends. Even though the EU-27 has half a million more armed soldiers than the United States, only 4 percent of this personnel can be deployed at a time, compared to 16 percent of U.S. forces.7 A majority of Europes ground forces are not deployable because transport aircraft, communications, surveillance drones, and helicopters remain in chronically short supply in Europe. Also, European armed forces have been largely personnel-heavy and static as part of the Cold War legacy. At its peak in 2006, the EU-27 had 3.7 percent of their activeduty forces deployed on operations, but this fell to 2.9 percent in 2011.8 A number of reasons account for this. An acute sense of operational fatigue in the general public and politicians is an important cause. The defense sector also suffers from serious underfunding. Reductions in defense spending continue to shape Europes military capabilities. In 2006, NATO recommitted to a minimum of 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. In 2012, only four allies managed to reach that goal Estonia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and the United States.9 In the last few years, all but three allies
6 Clara ODonnell, Time to Bite the Bullet on European Defence, Brookings, February 1, 2013 7 Tomas Valasek, Surviving Austerity: The Case for a New Approach to EU Military Collaboration, Centre for European Reform, April 2011, pp. 11-12. 8 Bastian Giegerich and Alexander Nicoll, The Struggle for Value in European Defence, Survival Vol 54 No1, FebruaryMarch 2012, pp.53-82. 9

out of 28 Norway, Poland, and Estonia have cut their defense budget, some by more than 20 percent. For example, Latvia reduced its military spending by 21 percent in 2009, Lithuania cut 36 percent in 2010, Czech Republic and Ireland cut 10 percent in 2011 and 2010 respectively, Portugal cut 11 percent in 2010, Greek military spending dropped by 18 percent in 2010 and a further 19 percent in 2011, Romania cut 13 percent in 2010, and Germany and U.K. cut about 8 percent between 2011 and 2015.10 While it is not out of the ordinary to spend less on defense without specific threats or large scale engagements, the real challenge is to maintain the ability to quickly regenerate military capabilities when the crunch time comes and funding suddenly becomes available. This requires keeping many residual defense capabilities, maintaining certain military competences, continuing with research and development work and retaining some structures where the residual competences would be parked until further notice. All this is currently missing. Defense Spending is Also in Decline in the United States The U.S. 2011 Budget Control Act required sequestration cuts totaling $1 trillion over the next 10 years.11 Cumulatively, this will amount to a 40 percent reduction of defense spending over a decade. In some ways, the U.S. defense cuts are normal as the country is coming out of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the current situation

While it is not out of the ordinary to spend less on defense without specific threats, the real challenge is to maintain the ability to quickly regenerate military capabilities when the funding suddenly becomes available.

For a comprehensive overview, see Christian Mlling and Sophie-Charlotte Brune, Report The Impact of the Financial Crisis on European Defence for the European Parliament, April 2011; See also Clara ODonnell (ed), The Implications of Military Spending Cuts for NATOs Largest Members, Brookings Analsyis Paper, July 2012; Clara ODonnell, Time to Bite the Bullet on European Defence, February 1, 2013. See also CSIS study European Defence Trends 2012: Budgets, Regulatory Framework and the Industrial Base, by David Berteau, Guy Ben-Ari, and Joachim Hofbauer, December 18, 2012. Jacob Stokes and Nora Bensahel, NATO Matters. Ensuring the Value of the Alliance for the U.S., CNAS Policy Brief, October 2013.


NATO Secretary Generals Annual Report 2012.

Exit Venus

European countries with less military capabilities mean less possibilities to face and oppose challenges other than immediate neighborhood. This kind of Europe is of less interest for the United States.

is special for two reasons. First, it costs much more to equip a soldier now compared to a decade ago because the price of weapons has increased and there are higher standard requirements for basic equipment. Second, the current cuts are more noteworthy because a significant part of the defense budget is reserved for non-military fields, such as retirement, healthcare, and other growing benefit costs for the active military personnel. It is politically sensitive to cut these budget lines; active duty military would protest. In addition, Congress is careful about base closures in the United States. As a result of all these untouchable fields, cutting modernization and procurement accounts are most realistic as this allows quick savings. Also, the U.S. headquarters in Europe will be critically scrutinized,12 with a real operational impact on the U.S. presence in Europe. Transatlantic Security Relationship is at Risk NATO has been the cornerstone of transatlantic political and military cooperation for the past 65 years. In the decade since 2001, the U.S. share of NATO defense expenditure has increased from 63 percent to 77 percent.13 This weakens the political support for Europe in the United States. The imbalance of financial burden has rightly prompted a new generation of U.S. politicians and voters to wonder why they should continue to subsidize Europes security if Europeans themselves appear unwilling to make the necessary investment.14 To illustrate the point, the 2011 Libyan operation highlighted some limits of Europes defense capabilities: the United States provided roughly 75 percent of intelligence, surveillance, and
12 13

reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, 75 percent of aerial refueling, and 90 percent of targeting, despite its willingness to take a back seat in the military operations. European countries also proved dependent on U.S. precision guided munitions. Additionally, a number of European NATO countries did not participate in the mission, simply because they lacked the political will or capacity to do so. Notably, Germany raised a lot of eyebrows when it abstained from the UN Security Council vote on intervention in Libya (together with Russia and China). It has also set off a lively debate in Berlin about how Germany should or should not be a free-rider on security. European countries with less military capabilities mean less possibilities to face and oppose challenges other than immediate neighborhood. European allies are less capable of reacting to risks and acting globally. This kind of Europe is of less interest for the United States and, therefore, there will probably be less enthusiasm for common military operations. The United States will grow increasingly reluctant to provide support that they do not see as vital for its interests. On the other side, there is a growing reluctance to use force in Europe. As a result, the Atlantic organization that has been set up to maintain peace and use force when necessary would have to take a strategic pause. There are increasing numbers of influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill who lack the first-hand experience of the Cold War times and who see Europe as freeloading on the United States.15 The United States has made it very clear in public statements, especially by former Secretary of Defense Gates, reinforced by former Secretary Leon Panetta and reiterated by President Barack Obama at the NATO Chicago Summit in 2012, that Europe must do more for its own security. If current

Jacob Stokes and Nora Bensahel.

Remarks by Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General, NATO Defense Planning Symposium, Oberammergau, January 16, 2013. 14 Anders Fogh Rasmussen, How to Keep NATO Strong, Foreign Policy, April 11, 2013, articles/2013/04/10/how_to_keep_nato_strong

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow.

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defense spending trends continue, the practical ability of NATOs European nations to work together with the United States would be seriously limited. There is a risk that the United States may lose interest in NATO. The Defense Spending by New and Emerging Powers While the total defense budgets of NATO allies are going down, Russia, Brazil, the wider Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region is spending more on their militaries. According to the 2013 Military Balance, for the first time, nominal Asian defense spending overtook that of NATO European states in 2012.This is not simply a result of Asia spending more; it is as much a result of states in Europe spending less.16 Even if one considered Russias and Chinas military modernization efforts non-threatening nature, basic prudence would assume that European states should maintain a credible ability to deter any potential aggression. Both Russia and China are investing very heavily in conventional power projection capabilities as well as in their inter-continental ballistic missile forces. Both China and Russia have undertaken a set of joint military exercises. To the extent these powers are cooperating rather than competing against each other, this is a further danger to the West. Beijings increasingly sophisticated and asymmetric capabilities promise to challenge U.S. military predominance in Asia, which risks further diverting U.S. attention away from Europe. Moscow is implementing a military reform to lead to smaller, more professional, and more flexible forces. The number of Russian military personnel deployed near their western border has increased, and Iskander ballistic missiles have been deployed near its border with EU. Russia has also conducted

several large exercises since 2009, most recently in October 2013 (Zapad 13) with a number of provocative elements, including Russian military aircraft flights in the Baltic and Nordic region (up to 50 per year in 2012).17 European Low Threat Perception The general downward trend of defense spending in Europe is supported by the perceived absence of threat. In a poll for Eurobarometer in 2011, terrorism was the only external risk, named by 7 percent of EU-27. Otherwise, economic and financial concerns, immigration, and unemployment topped the list.18 The 2013 GMF Transatlantic Trends revealed that only 31 percent of Europeans believed that war was sometimes necessary to obtain justice, while in the United States the number was 68 percent. Twenty-four percent of U.S. respondents saw major military threats endangering their country, while only 15 percent of Europeans agreed.19 Europeans feel safe, despite both novel and enduring potential threats, such as Russias or Chinas growing assertiveness, the unsettled situation in the Western Balkans, and serious tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ossetia.20 The entire Arab world is in turmoil, with states coming under massive pressure from Islamists with a deeply anti-Western agenda. The Syrian civil war, lacking effective Western intervention, is further radicalizing and destabilizing a society at the very heart of the Middle East. Along with the instability in Egypt, this represents a significant degradation of the security environment for all European nations but especially those in southern Europe.
Interview with Kaarel Kaas, Researcher of International Centre for Defence Studies (ICDS) in Tallinn, October 2013. 18 Eurobarometer 76, 2011. 19 GMF Transatlantic Trends 2013 Key Findings. 20 Elvire Fabry, Chiara Rosselli EU Defence Capacity: Maintaining Credibility?, December 10, 2012,

Both Russia and China are investing very heavily in conventional power projection capabilities.

International Institute for Security Studies (IIISS) press statement for the launch of 2013 Military Balance, March 14, 2013.

Exit Venus

Defense policy is not very high on the European political agenda since most voters do not think it is more important than the economy, the environment, or migration.

One could assume that Southern European countries such as Spain or Portugal should feel more threatened and exposed as a result of the changed international environment in Middle East and Northern Africa. Yet, their decreasing defense spending do not reflect any changes. Most Europeans do not perceive direct military threats to their territory, nor feel that their secu rity is much at risk. This, in turn, leads to a general rejection of military force as a useful tool to resolve problems. The eurozone crisis has captured the majority of policymakers attention and decreased their budgetary capacity. Defense policy is not very high on the European political agenda since most voters do not think it is more important than the economy, the environment, or migration. The end of the Cold War provides a good intellectual justification for defense cuts. People are also tired of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. In addition, there is an increasing public perception that future military operations will be less aggressive and will require fewer resources. As Christian Mlling has

noted, at a time of significant financial hardship, the European publics are raising questions about the legitimacy of the militaries and questioning the merit of having armed forces at all.21 All too often, governments care about safeguarding employment at home more than about preserving military strength. Truth be told, they cannot be blamed for that. The economy and the environment have become risks and so as a consequence they are given more priority.


Christian Mlling in Clara ODonnell (ed), The Implications of Military Spending Cuts for NATOs Largest Members, Brookings Analysis Paper, July 2012.

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How to Bind NATO Together

s NATO plans to leave Afghanistan in 2014, the alliances future path is coming into focus, especially with the upcoming summit in view next September. With the Obama administration pivoting toward Asia, speculation about NATOs future has intensified. What could hold the transatlantic Alliance together in times of peace and growing gaps? NATOs Strategic Concept offers some new avenues for joint activities providing a tool of training and interoperability. Holding military exercises tests NATOs command structure and readiness of forces and logistics. This is also underlined by the new Connected Forces Initiative launched by the NATO secretary general. Testing the tools and mechanisms and exercising crisis management could be another useful way of managing joint activities. Regular review of NATOs crisis management mechanisms through the management crisis exercises is an efficient and a relatively cost-effective measure to strengthen NATOs credibility in the eyes of those who doubt its efficiency. Also, counterterrorism and special forces could be a joint way to proceed. Finally, NATO could raise its profile in cyber security, stating this is something necessary for everybody in the Alliance. The new Strategic Concept recognizes that together these tasks fulfill the needs and desires of all members old and new, northern and southern even if not every member places equal emphasis on all of these tasks.22 How to Maintain U.S. Support for NATOs European Allies NATOs value to the United States should not be underestimated. Nowhere else in the world can the United States find the like-minded and by22

and-large reliable partners they have in Europe. A big part of the U.S. power and prestige lies in its ability to create and sustain alliance with European partners. While the overall alliance cohesion is regarded as the strength of the United States personally, any cracks in the alliance are interpreted by opposition forces as signs of the United States weakness and cracks of the U.S. power. In times of diminished resources for defense, having reliable allies willing to share the burden of collective defense becomes even more important to U.S. interests.23 A study just published by the centrist Center for a New American Security (CNAS) concludes that NATO alone continues to provide the multinational interoperability, command structure, and deployable capabilities that make it the partner of first resort for the United States.24 The United States military power stands as a deterrent, as no-one chooses to fight it. NATO helps to build this deterrence value for the United States and no soft power replaces the needed military capabilities. NATOs great value lies in its legitimacy as a political body.25 It is a forum of 28 democratic countries for discussing transatlantic security questions and debating the merits of possible military operations. As members, the United States (and Canada) can have a direct say in what happens in Europe. In attempting to overcome the transatlantic gap, Europe should highlight more positive impact and its overall contributions. A positive example of the narrative of European political will and capabilities is its contribution in Afghanistan. Forty percent

Nowhere else in the world can the United States find the likeminded and by-andlarge reliable partners they have in Europe. Jacob Stokes and Nora Bensahel, NATO Matters. Ensuring the Value of the Alliance for the U.S., CNAS Policy Brief, October 2013. Jacob Stokes and Nora Bensahel, NATO Matters. Ensuring the Value of the Alliance for the U.S., CNAS Policy Brief, October 2013.


Exit interview with Ivo Daalder on the Future of NATO with Adam Garfinkle, The American Interest, August 16, 2013. http://


Exit Venus

Forty thousand European forces in an international NATO operation means that 40,000 U.S. men and women can stay home.

of troops after the surge are European. There are 15,000 European troops in Iraq. There are 3,700 French troops in Mali. All this demonstrates that Europeans are capable of defending their allies. The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan at its peak was composed of 67 percent U.S. forces, 29 percent NATO forces, and 2 percent non-European forces. Forty thousand European forces in an international NATO operation means that 40,000 U.S. men and women can stay home. Also, when explaining Europe in the United States, it is important to keep in mind that Europe is not a single entity. Information about Europe presented in Washington, DC, should be more differentiated and nuanced. For example, the picture of defense capabilities is not as bleak in the U.K. or France as the rest of Europe. Libyan and Malian operations show that some European military powers still have the will to intervene. Europeans should find a way of presenting their military contribution by fitting it into the U.S. strategic narrative and by demonstrating a European added value. For example, Europe should tap into the U.S. desire to avoid costly entanglements by training, advising, and assisting local or regional forces in various parts of the world. Europeans are good at this too, and are willing to bring other aspects to the table development aid, institutions building, law and justice. The comprehensive approach is stronger and better developed in European thinking and policy frameworks and this still does matter. Serious defense and security conversation should also take place as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. Reuniting the West around the core NATO Alliance may be an easier task if transatlantic economic integration provides for greater cooperation as well as producing greater resources for military spending. In other words, NATO would be stronger and more

vigorous if a real transatlantic marketplace were to be established. How to Sustain the Momentum of CSDP A stronger and more capable European defense is what NATO, the United States, and Europe itself all need. Europe has a good opportunity to focus on defense at the EU summit dedicated to security and defense. It could help lay the groundwork for the two organizations to consult, coordinate, and cooperate more effectively. In this regard, it does not matter whether the defense efforts are undertaken under a NATO or EU aegis. At the end of the day, what is important is that either NATO, the EU, or individual European allies will be able to respond effectively to internal and external defense challenges. Naturally, a closer cooperation between NATO and EU requires an agreement between Greece and Turkey about Cyprus. Given the political divisions, which currently seem unbridgeable, what is most missing at the EU level is not a new strategy document but an inter-governmental strategic debate. The good news is that EU heads-of-government may debate their strategic priorities as part of their planned discussions on EU defense policy at the summit in December their first such discussion in eight years. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has already outlined Europes changing strategic environment in her recent preparatory report on EU defense policy. And the president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, has indicated that he may include this subject in his report on the state of defense in Europe for the 28 heads-of-government at the summit. As Daniel Keohane proposes, Van Rompuys report on defense in December could become a reference point for the next president of the European Council to hold an annual strategic debate with EU heads-of-government. Having annual debates


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may not quickly lead to a new EU foreign policy strategy, but there is no hope of having a useful new document without such discussions. 26 How to Build a Stronger Narrative on Defense Political will plays the most important part in building defense capabilities. Generating that will in Europe has become more difficult, because military issues do not rate high among peoples priorities, especially at times of economic hardship. Without general publics and parliaments understanding the importance of hard security and military capabilities, defense investments in Europe cannot increase. This is where building the narrative becomes important. The EU and NATO, as well as European countries individually, should pay greater attention to creating a stronger strategic narrative that makes clear why countries need military capabilities. The narrative could include the following arguments. At the highest theoretical level, the narrative could evolve around the notion that the multi-lateral and liberal world order we strive for does not come for free. For the resource-poor and trade dependent nations in Europe, it is of existential importance that the liberal world order survives. The precondition for being able to provide modern services democracy, strong economy, and military ability is often overlooked. Defense should be regarded as an insurance policy, and, indeed, a pretty cheap insurance policy when conducted through NATO. It is good value for money. Hard security has a direct impact on the European ability to conduct free flow of trade and free movement. This requires Europe to be prepared to deploy naval and air power at critical moments so to protect their interests. Europes interests could

be geographic (vulnerabilities in the neighborhood), functional (e.g. protecting energy supplies, keeping sea lanes open), or existential (e.g. promo tion of international law, traditional defense, peace).27 Also, considering the low threat perception in Europe, the narrative about the usefulness of defense spending should shift from being purely threats-based to explaining more generally why defense matters. In doing so, additional arguments should be considered that resonate more in the economic crisis context. Efforts supporting the continued need to invest in defense should include arguments such as defense is good economics increasingly view defense spending as a means to support employment, or regional, or industrial policy. European governments could view defense spending as a means to support employment, or regional, or industrial policy.28 What are armed forces needed for in todays world? This aspect is often a less understood side of the defense debate. The diffuse nature of threats in an uncertain world means that the role of the armed forces has to be broader than merely defending national territory. As Charles Moskos, who coined the term postmodern military, has outlined, the changing nature of the military in the 21st century includes besides the defense of the national territory overseas operations, peace-keeping missions, humanitarian interventions, domestic assistance to government at times of crisis or natural disasters, and actors in defense diplomacy.29 Current-day military men have become soldier statesmen and soldier scholars. The nature of a

The EU and NATO, as well as European countries individually, should pay greater attention to creating a stronger strategic narrative that makes clear why countries need military capabilities.

Elvire Fabry and Chiara Rosselli EU Defence Capacity: Maintaining Credibility?, December 10, 2012, http://www.

Daniel Keohane, Does the EU Need a New Foreign Policy Strategy?, October 21, 2013,

Nick Witney, Where Does CSDP Fit in EU Foreign Policy? February 13, 2013 csdpeuforeignpolicy-witney-ne-jdi-feb13.pdf 29 Charles C. Moskos, John Allen Williams, and David R. Segal (eds), The Postmodern Military: Armed Forces after the Cold War, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Exit Venus


changed military is a reality that needs to be better communicated to the wider public. Defense in the 21st century is about proactive crisis management. Those who prosper more than others have a louder voice in determining how the world is to be run. Certainly, not all problems have a military solution, but maintaining strong military capabilities and practicing engagement in crisis management can contribute to avoiding problems for everyone. As the former chief of the European Defence Agency, Nick Whitney, claimed, The value of Europes armed forces is less in countering specific threats than as necessary instruments of power and influence in a world where militaries still matter.30 The soft and hard side of power have to be in balance. Soft power does not replace military capability. As Joseph Nye, who has become famous for the hard power-soft power distinction, summarizes the military power in the 21st century will not have the same utility for states that it had on the 19th, but it will remain a crucial component of power in world politics.31 Militarily, Europe is safer now than it has ever been. At the same time, the economy has proven its ability to destroy lives and to be a real security threat. The narrative cannot just try to remind people of geopolitical security threats that they simply do not believe in. It has to be wider than that. It will be hard to get it right, and perhaps some research needs to be done about just what people are likely to respond to. For this reason, in a well-timed initiative, NATO has asked think tanks from eight allies to assess their national conversations on defense and to provide recommendations on how to stimulate

Building a strong narrative on European defense requires strong leadership from the top.

this debate.32 As a result, it appeared that while the political cultures and national views on defense vary significantly across the alliance, there are also some common aspects. Strategic debate about contemporary security risks and NATOs role are insufficient or limited to small professional communities.33 While the publics may understand that a countrys freedom and prosperity depend on its security, they lack knowledge about how much the governments invest in defense, how the investment is used, and what roles the military forces actually fill. For example, many people believe that countries spend far more on defense than they actually do.34 This NATO-financed study is most valuable. All the more, it is extremely important not to stop now and declare the project finished, but to expand it to more NATO countries. The resulting messages should also be presented to EU heads and NATO ministers so that allied politicians can use the narrative in explaining the importance of defense to their national constituencies. Building a strong narrative on European defense requires strong leadership from the top. EU countries presidents and prime ministers need to get personally involved, within national governments, during NATO summits, and within European Council. The heads of states and governments need to start a real conversation about the strategic military and security needs of Europe. No such conversation currently exists at the pan-European level.

The contributing think tanks were the Atlantic Council of Canada (Canada); Institut franais des relations internationales (France); Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy); the Hague Center for Strategic Studies (the Netherlands); DemosEurope (Poland); the International Institute for Strategic Studies (United Kingdom); and the Center for a New American Security (United States). The reports are available at http://carnegieeurope. eu/2013/11/21/defense-matters/gub9 as of November 26, 2013 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speech in Croatia, October 11, 2013, opinions_104038.htm


Nick Witney, How to Stop the Demilitarisation of Europe, ECFR policy brief, November 2011.



Joseph Nye, Has Economic Power Replaced Military Might?, Project Syndicate, June 6, 2011.


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Washington Berlin Paris Brussels Belgrade Ankara Bucharest Warsaw Tunis