Next step for EU and NATO: a security tandem

Unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in a military hardware display for NATO defense officials and EU leaders
Warsaw, July 8, 2016: NATO defense ministers visit the Polish armament and Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) reconnaissance system exhibition as part of a NATO summit (source: dpa)
  • NATO and the EU are yet to develop mechanisms for defense system interoperability
  • Since the 2016 summits, some areas have been designated for enhancing military cooperation, but piecemeal coordination is no substitute for a deep, systemic integration
  • Ultimately, leaders will need to separate defense missions for NATO and the national forces of the EU members, and create a true Western security tandem

The manifestations of a novel, hybrid war between Russia and the West range from aggressive international relations stratagems to confrontational propaganda, more or less cloaked cyber attacks, large-scale snap military drills, reckless stunts by military craft in the air and at sea – all the way to nuclear brinkmanship.

In the face of mounting pressure, the European Union and NATO are trying to improve the interoperability of their military organizations. The steps taken thus far – improvised, ad hoc, limited actions by members of both organizations – are simply insufficient. In the end, Western defense needs to be integrated on a high, systemic level.

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