"More European, More Connected and More Capable" – MSC Presents New Report on European Defense Cooperation
A new report by the Munich Security Conference, in cooperation with McKinsey & Co. and the Hertie School of Governance, aims to inform and reinvigorate the discussion around European defense spending. The report focuses on how joint approaches to increasing defense budgets can sensibly and efficiently improve Europe's capabilities as a security actor.
Europe stands at a crossroads: Its military capabilities are declining while its security challenges rise and multiply. How can Europe better provide for its own security? The Munich Security Conference’s newly published report, "More European, More Connected, More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future", a research project with McKinsey & Company and the Hertie School's Centre for International Security Policy (CISP), aims to inform this important debate as governments across Europe contemplate significant hikes in military spending.
However, simply spending more is not the answer to every challenge. Which areas should European countries increasingly invest in, and how will they get the best possible security and defense for what they spend? Which parts of the European defense effort should be organized jointly – or even be fully integrated – and which should remain national? In short, how will higher defense budgets translate into more European, more connected, and more capable armed forces? These are among the questions the report tackles.
The report presents five key choices for European leaders to create connected and capable armed forces for the future:
- prioritizing modernization of equipment, especially to close the interconnectedness and digitization gap,
- investing in making existing equipment more available,
- moving towards joint European planning and procurement,
- taking a top-down approach to consolidating the defense industry,
- boosting defense research and development.
Reaching the goal of spending two percent of GDP on defense by 2024, as agreed by heads of government at the 2014 NATO summit, would greatly help in this endeavor. However, the report's recommendations hold true even in the likely case that not all European states reach that benchmark. More important is that European leaders make the smart choices to lay a foundation for a more capable security policy. Simply doing "more of the same" would mean missing a unique opportunity that could leave Europe's defense capabilities lagging behind for decades.
The report "More European, More Connected, More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future" served as the basis for the discussions at the MSC European Defence Roundtable in Berlin on November 30. The roundtable brought together 50 senior representatives of European governments, parliaments, militaries, think tanks, and the defense industry.
Earlier in the day, the report was presented at a public panel debate at the Hertie School of Governance.
About the Munich Security Conference
The Munich Security Conference (MSC) is the world's leading platform for debates on international security policy. With over 500 official participants and 300 observers assembled at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, the annual conference provides a unique atmosphere for frank, private and mostly off-the-record exchange on present and future security challenges and solutions.
European Defence and the MSC
Besides its annual flagship conference in Munich, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) Foundation regularly organizes high-profile events around the world. These events include summits and roundtables dedicated to a particular thematic focus like European Defence, Energy Security, Cyber Security, and Health Security.
The future of European defence has traditionally been one of the major topics of the Munich Security Conference. In 2013, the MSC, together with its knowledge partner McKinsey & Company, launched the European Defence Series. Since then, numerous events have addressed European defence challenges and have contributed to debating the goal of a deeper, much more impactful European cooperation in security and defence.