Archive for June 29th, 2018

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EUCO Summit and Ukrainian defence

June 29, 2018

On 29th June, the European Council released its communique relating to the outcomes (perhaps a better word than “results”) of the conclave that had just gathered.

Much relates to foreign policy, albeit there is a good deal of internal issues too.  European eyes will be drawn toward the political issues relating to immigration and refugees from the African continent and via Turkey.  UK eyes will continue to ponder Brexit and the slow-moving car crash it was bound to become.

Also within the communique however, are mentioned matters that Ukraine may well be keeping a watchful eye upon – specifically Chapter II on Security and Defence, where PESCO, CARD, EDIDP, CDP and third party participation is mentioned along with the CSDP:

“calls for the fulfilment of the PESCO commitments and the further development of the initial projects and the institutional framework, in a way that is fully consistent with the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence and the revised Capability Development Plan adopted within the European Defence Agency. A next set of projects will be agreed in November 2018. It invites the Council to decide on the conditions for third State participation in PESCO projects;

welcomes progress on military mobility in the framework of PESCO and EU-NATO cooperation, expects the military requirements under the EU Action Plan on military mobility now to be finalised, and calls on Member States to simplify and standardise relevant rules and procedures by 2024. These efforts, which should fully respect the
sovereignty of the Member States, be mutually reinforcing and follow a whole-of-government approach, will be reviewed yearly on the basis of a report by the Commission and the High Representative, starting in spring 2019;

calls for the swift implementation of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and for further progress on the European Defence Fund both in its research and capability windows;

welcomes the work undertaken to strengthen civilian CSDP and calls for an agreement on a civilian CSDP Compact by the end of this year, thus providing a new EU framework for civilian crisis management and CSDP missions, with ambitious commitments at EU and national level. It recalls that military and civilian aspects need to be addressed in a comprehensive manner with a focus on concrete deliverables;”

Ukraine has ratified obligations relating to the EU CSDP.  Article 7, Paragraph 1 of the ratified EU-Ukraine Association Agreement states “The Parties shall intensify their dialogue and cooperation and promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and shall address in particular issues of conflict prevention and crisis management, regional stability, disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and arms export control as well as enhanced mutually-beneficial dialogue in the field of space. Cooperation will be based on common values and mutual interests, and shall aim at increasing policy convergence and effectiveness, and promoting joint policy planning. To this end, the Parties shall make use of bilateral, international and regional fora.”

The EUCO communique mentions “third party nations”.  As such there will be those within Ukraine that will consider the nation to already be a “third party nation” with existing and ratified commitments to the CSDP.  Ratified agreements are not a one-way street.  It follows that whatever changes within, or whatever affects, or may affect the CSDP, should be of interest to Ukraine.  Ergo, PESCO, CARD, EDIDP, and the CDP are not to be ignored, not only for any changes or potential changes to the CDSP, but also any opportunities that they may provide – for third party nations like Ukraine.

So, what of this European Union alphabet soup, and how does it all fit together?

In 2016 the EU published a document called the “European Global Stratgey” (apparently there is a European Global Strategy).  Resultant from this, Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) appeared in December 2017.  Both the EUGS and PESCO can be broadly stated, at least in part, as tools to develop “full spectrum” capabilities within the EU relating to security, defence and general “resilience” per the Washington Treaty Article 3 definition.  (The same foundation as the recent “On National Security” law recently passed in Ukraine.)  Defence cooperation and a robust and comprehensive European defence industry are clearly among the goals of EUGS and PESCO.

In order to get to those goals, the European Defence Agency (EDA) and/or other interested parties (the EUMS – European Military Staff) have written documents to guide the way and funds have been set up.  There is the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence (IPSD), the creation of a European Defence Fund (EDF), and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) to illuminate a path toward reaching the EUGS and PESCO goals.

There is also the EU Capability Development Plan (CDP) – which is actually a document worth reading relating to shortfalls, trends and projections.  A heady mix of strategic analysis, strategic guidance, political commitment and financial incentives.  Within this a reader can find yet further EU alphabet soup – SAEP, CCS, PC, RC, HICGs, CDS, CDM, GMTL and on and on – all of which provide ingredients to the mix that finally arrives at the EU CDP – which is worth reading.

The CDP does have an affect upon the EU CSDP to which Ukraine is obliged.

Indeed potentially any individual sovereign deployment of forces has an affect upon the CSDP, for by extension that affects the capabilities that may or may not be deployed on any EU military operation.  This led to the creation and mutually accessible Collaborative, Secure On-line Database (CODABA) theoretically allowing all to see what was deployed, what was available and what was undergoing maintenance among members.  The PESCO agreements entered into by those wishing to join it also makes binding commitments to forces for an EU CSDP and will, together with CARD and the CDP, provide something of a loop for National Implementation Plans (NIPs) which in theory will bring members closer to achieving EU security and defence with ever-decreasing capability gaps.

All of which should be interesting for Ukraine, but aside from perhaps being asked (and no doubt willingly providing) some stop-gap assets, it will not be anywhere near as interesting as the industrial and technological aspects looking forward.  After all as difficult as it may be to keep up with and ahead of tech and innovation, planners don’t just plan for today and tomorrow.  They attempt to plan 30 years ahead (for example, the sea life cycle of a Frigate may be 30 years, but will it be of any tactical use given design and equipment considerations and expectations in 30 years time etc).

As a recent entry duly noted, Ukraine has finally admitted that its own Military Industrial Complex (MIC) is not particularly fit for purpose (despite being a major international arms exporter) for the challenges Ukraine faces.  The industry retarding role of Ukrboronprom will undoubtedly change.  Privatisation and foreign investment is a requirement.  Import-export and procurement to and from abroad is planned to become significantly easier for the defence industry participants.

(Ukraine also produces, and holds on inventory, equipment that the EU doesn’t have in abundance (and sometimes at all)).

However, wise heads within Ukraine will hopefully be looking at the future of the CSDP and the projections within the CDP.

Where as a third party nation, if allowed to partake, could it add value in meeting those projections?

Perhaps some scrutiny of the European Defence Technology and Industrial Base (EDTIB) should not occur only with a view to Ukraine’s own immediate MIC needs, but also with a view to what the EU needs will be.  Perhaps attention should be paid to the EU’s Overarching Strategic Research Agendas (OSRAs)?

What are the EDA’s identified Key Strategic Activities (KSAs) that will shape the CSDP?  How will that affect Ukraine, and can it add value within the EDIDP as a third party nation within the elasticity of the text that form the obligations to the EU CSDP?

There are then questions of what to do with, and how to approach, the UK should it fall (as it may very well do) outside of all of this very soon.

Perhaps the 9th July EU-Ukraine summit may shed some light if gaps in the clouds of Russia and corruption allow for the illumination of other matters in any communique?

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