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Balancing defence and security efforts with a permanently structured scorecard

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Two major developments are set to change defence and security landscapes in the coming decade: the Lisbon treaty will affect in a significant way the European Union’s ‘external action’ and at Bucharest, NATO’s Heads of State & Government decided to overhaul Defence Planning to make it more integrated and harmonised across all disciplines, which should in turn provide a blueprint for leaner and more efficient structures. At least, that’s the plan. And it had better be a good one, since defence planning for both organisations accounts for approximately 780 billion dollar per annum, on average 2,8% of the GDP their member states produce (i.e. 2/3 of the wealth produced across the globe). The Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) – when implemented1 – will endow its re-baptised Common Defence and Security Policy (ESDP in the actual EU treaty) with two new instruments, the Enhanced Cooperation and the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PermStrucCoop). By granting the Union a legal personality2 and limited new decision opportunities, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy or a group of Member States that are ‘willing and have the necessary capability’ for a special task should be able to take it on (at their own expense, unless decided otherwise3). PermStrucCoop, second in the rearranged EU-toolbox, should tailor for longer term capability-building by a strongly motivated ‘core’ that fulfils ‘higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions’. Although Art 42§3 explicitly will incite all Member States to ‘undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities’, it remains to be seen whether governments and parliaments ratifying the ToL will put their money where their mouth is. PermStrucCoop is understood to be ‘inclusive’,4 even for those countries that would consider spending 2% of their GDP for security and defence entirely out of reach. But unless it is to be a “zero-growth-doing-more-with-less” exercise – a distinct possibility in times of austere government spending and competing budget priorities – a steady decline in national defence budgets will have to be reversed to meet even the most modest admission standards. Arguably however, 1. The Treaty of Lisbon amends the existing EU-treaty which will be ‘consolidated’ once all ratification instruments have been deposited. The referendum in Ireland will undoubtedly have an effect on the intended date of 1 Jan 2009. The consolidated version of the new EU-treaty will be used as reference and can be consulted on the website of the EU-council at 2. Art. 47 of the future consolidated EU-treaty. 3. Art. 332 of the future consolidated EU-treaty. 4. Sven Biscop, Permanent Structured Cooperation and the Future of ESDP (Egmont Paper 20). Brussels, Egmont, 2008. combining efficiency & efficacy with the magic trilogy of ‘specialisation – cooperation – pooling’ should bring PermStrucCoop within reach of most Member States. Thus, a two-tier “defence community” – considered undesirable by some for CSDP, unavoidable in NATO by others – would be averted. This paper will explore how ‘theological’ criteria could be translated to key performance indicators of a pragmatic and balanced scorecard for defence and security efforts, both in the NATO and EU framework. Whether they are then also used as discriminators towards PermStrucCoop is a matter of political debate, but tailoring targets to the different profiles of possible contenders by checking and balancing the scorecard indicators should provide a positive, yet challenging roadmap for convergence. Concerning the other major challenge brought to the fore by PermStrucCoop – generating forces and capabilities for NATO or EU-led operations – it can be argued that current burden and risksharing mechanisms (or the lack thereof) are to be reviewed and rethought: food for those thoughts will be presented.
(Photo credit: soldiermediacenter, EveryStockPhoto)