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Defence

NATO and the Challenges of Austerity

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012
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In the coming decade, NATO faces growing fiscal austerity and declining defense budgets. This study analyzes the impact of planned defense budget cuts on the capabilities of seven European members of NATO — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland — that together represent more than 80 percent of NATO Europe's defense spending. The result of the anticipated cuts and future financial constraints is that the capacity of the major European powers to project military power will be highly constrained: The air, land, and sea forces of key U.S. European allies are rapidly reaching the point at which they can perform only one moderate-sized operation at a time and will be hard-pressed to meet the rotation requirements of a protracted, small-scale irregular warfare mission. Power projection and sustainment of significant forces outside Europe's immediate neighborhood will be particularly difficult. The authors discuss these challenges in a strategic context, including the operational and planning weaknesses exposed by NATO's intervention in Libya in 2011, and make recommendations for U.S. policy with regard to NATO.
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Smart Defense and the Future of NATO: Can the Alliance Meet the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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The experiences in Afghanistan and Libya have pointed to the consequences of chronically underfunding defense establishments, the difficulties in getting twenty-eight sovereign states to commit resources equitably and predictably, and the challenges of responding effectively to new, rapidly emerging threats. The transatlantic alliance must confront a number of fundamental strategic questions about its future.
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Dynamic Change. Rethinking NATO’s Capabilities, Operations and Partnerships

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Monday, April 1, 2013
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While the US has been constantly modernizing its armed forces, NATO European states, with the partial exception of the United Kingdom (UK) and France, have lagged far behind (even if one factors in the differences in resources). When pondering on how much and on what to spend public money, European governments are invariably driven by domestic considerations – which for Europeans rarely revolve around military issues – rather than NATO commitments. As a result, a growing imbalance has ensued, with certain allies proportionally contributing to Alliance activities much more than others. While this problem is anything but new in NATO’s history, its proportions – augmented by the economic crisis, which has led to cuts in military spending in most NATO member states – have now acquired an unprecedented scale.
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Enabling the Future. European Military Capabilities 2013-2025: Challenges and Avenues

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
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In recent decades, a remarkable degree of strategic mobility and military reach, significant social and human capital, and an advanced industrial and scientific base have endowed the European Union with capable and effective armed forces. However, as centuries of European (or Western) dominance are currently giving way to a more multipolar and less governable world system, protecting common ‘strategic interests’ without adequate military capabilities may become ever more difficult. Although Europeans remain relatively well-equipped to mobilise the tools needed to tackle potential threats, within the EU there is limited awareness or recognition of the emerging challenges, a basic disinterest in strategic matters, and relatively few voices calling for effective and sustainable armed forces. In addition, the European political and institutional landscape regarding defence and military matters is extremely segmented. It is in this context that this Report seeks to place European military capabilities in a broader perspective and highlight potential avenues for exploration and development over the next decade.
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