More European, More Connected, More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future
Europe’s security environment has deteriorated in the last few years. New threats include a more aggressive Russia, instability in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and cyberthreats from hostile governments and nonstate actors.
The United States is sending mixed signals about continuing the high level of military support it has provided for Europe in the past decades.
Adding to the challenge, Europe’s defense capabilities have declined. Equipment inventories have been reduced to critical levels across most weapons categories, and many systems are outdated. Austerity and an increase in missions abroad have reduced the readiness of Europe’s forces; in many countries, up to half of military equipment, from infantry vehicles to helicopters, is not available at any one time.
Europe’s fragmented approach to defense exacerbates the situation: Europe has six times more types of major weapon systems than the US. In many European defense projects, countries put the interests of their national industries ahead of European capability building, military cooperation, and interoperability.
ORBIS is powered by ESPAS, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, a unique inter-institutional project aimed at strengthening the EU's efforts in the crucial area of forward planning. ESPAS brings together the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service to strengthen the Union's collective administrative capacity to identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead.