Smart Defence and Pooling & Sharing - How to Survive...

Recent Advances in Energy, Environment and Economic Development
Smart Defence and Pooling & Sharing - How to Survive Austerity
Department of Career Education
University of Defence
Kounicova 65, 662 10 Brno
[email protected]
Abstract: Over the past years defence spending by NATO´s and EU´s member nations has significantly shrunk.
While the world is changing, essential mission will remain the same: to ensure that the Alliance and EU remain
an unparalleled community of freedom, peace, security and shared values. Security is about military
capabilities that allows governments to defend their populations against new threats and possibly to engage in
crisis management. How to survive austerity, minimise impact of cuts and ensure effectiveness of the Alliance
and EU? By Smart Defence and Pooling and Sharing capabilities. Ensuring greater security for less money, by
working together, with more flexibility. Crisis makes cooperation between nations no longer a choice. It is a
necessity. NATO´s and EU´s role is to set the strategic direction, to identify possible areas of cooperation.
There are three ways: to pool and share capabilities, to set the right priorities and to better coordinate efforts.
Smart Defence in NATO and Pooling & Sharing in EU, represent a new culture of cooperation. It is the chance
how to invest enough to prepare for the future.
Key-Words: Smart Defence; Strategy; Military Strategy; Pooling and Sharing; capability sharing.
1 Introduction
effectiveness of the Alliance and EU? How to
ensure greater security for less money?
“Security is not an optional extra – even in times of
austerity. It’s not a luxury – it’s a vital necessity.
Because security problems don’t wait while we
come to terms with our economic difficulties.
……We may not be able to spend more, but we
certainly can spend smarter by spending together –
and that is what we must do. In the current
economic climate, the need for cooperation is
clearer than ever. [1].
3 Pooling and Sharing NATO and EU
3.1 What is Smart Defence
The term „Smart Defence“ started to use publicly
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
at the beginning of 2011, giving several speeches in
which he endorsed the development of multinational
cooperation, economic planning and regional
approaches to build improved Alliance capabilities.
NATO's smart defence initiative is a new approach
which seeks to better align the collective
requirements and national priorities of Member
States. Instead of pursuing purely national solutions,
Allies have decided that where it is efficient and
cost-effective, they will seek out more multinational
solutions, including for acquisition, training and
logistic support. Smart Defence is obviously nothing
new. Concerns about shortfalls in NATO military
capabilities have been expressed regularly over time
by numerous political and military actors, often
suggesting the development of „pooling and
sharing“ to eliminate the persistent gap within the
Alliance between requirements and capabilities.
„Pooling“ military forces and assets from various
countries to create strengthened operational
capabilities, and „sharing“ significant amounts of
military goods and services have already been
promoted in the past. In this perspective, Smart
2 Formulation of problem
As Libya and other NATO campaigns have
demonstrated time and again, Europe relies too
much on the U.S. to pick up the slack in key
enablers required for alliance operations, such as
air-to-air refuelling, intelligence, surveillance, target
acquisition, and reconnaissance. This is mainly the
result of reduced defence investments by NATO
members since the end of the Cold War and the lack
of political will to use military capability when and
where it is needed. Since 2008, the 16 European
members of NATO have reduced their military
spending. Reductions in many NATO countries
have exceeded 10 percent. [2] How to survive
austerity, minimise impact of cuts and ensure
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Defence thus appears as little more than a new
attempt to implement an old idea.
First list of Smart Defence projects has been
formalized in May 2012 in Chicago. Today there are
around 150 projects or proposals, including 24
which are being implemented right now. And the
momentum will continue. There is expecting ten
more in the coming months. In this perspective, it
was stated that Smart Defence actually represents “a
changed outlook, the opportunity for renewed
culture of cooperation is given new prominence as
an effective and efficient option for developing
critical capabilities.”
From three pillars of Smart Defence already
identified by Allied Command Transformation
specialization is the one component that must be
considered the most challenging - at least from
a military view point. It is the revitalized proposal of
specialization. The idea of specialization was
introduced as early as the 1990s, but has ever since
lived a relatively quiet life in the Alliance. When
specializing almost any initiative will create
considerable consequences for those who engage in
it. While economically attractive, specialization is at
the same time the most complicated of the Smart
Defence initiatives, seen both from a practical and
from a political perspective. Some would call it
idealistically brilliant, others practically unrealistic.
Specialization means that NATO member states
specialize permanently – in peace and war – in
specific military capabilities, meaning that they will
be the main, or in some cases the sole, providers of
these in any future scenario. In a specialized
NATO agreed projects:
Multinational Logistics Partnership – Mine
Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP)
Vehicle Maintenance
Multinational Logistics Partnership –
Helicopter Maintenance
Deployable Contract Specialist Group
Immersive Training Environments
Centres of Excellence as Hubs of E&IT
CIS E-Learning Training Centres Network
Individual Training and Education
Programme (ITEP)
Pooling Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA)
Remote Controlled Vehicles for Route
Clearance Operations
Multinational Joint Headquarter Ulm
Female Leaders in Security and Defence: A
Roadmap to Turn Potential into
Joint Logistics Support Group (JLSG HQ)
capability from NATO Force Structure
(NFS) Commitments
Pooling & Sharing Multinational Medical
Treatment Facilities (Role 2)
Pooling of Deployable Air Activation
Modules (DAAM)
Jet Aircraft upgrade to be NATO Universal
Armaments Interface (NUAI) Compliant
Theatre Opening Capability
Multinational Logistics Partnership – Fuel
Multinational Aviation Training Centre
Dismantling, Demilitarization and Disposal
(D3) of Military Equipment
Multinational Munitions Life - Cycle
Multinational Military Flight Crew
Counter IED – Biometrics
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Establishment of Multinational Geospatioal
Support Group (GSG)
Multinational Cyber Defence Capability
Development (MNCD2) [3]
NATO structure, the Alliance will as a whole
possess the same capabilities as up to now but
a number of these, instead of being divided
between more or less Allies, will be concentrated
among only a few nations. Any degree of
specialization, limited or widespread, will directly
affect a number of parameters vital to the member
states involved and will trigger consideration
regarding the challenges to be overcome. These
parameters are:
Strategic flexibility;
Political freedom to act;
Specific criteria to invoke for a specialized
capabilities structure;
The defence industry;
Other international organizations;
Training and education of personnel. [4]
specialization actually could have – but never did –
become a solution for NATO during the fixed and
predictable Article 5 scenarios of the Cold War, it
seems much more challenging to fit it in with
today´s unpredictable security environment, shifting
coalitions and non-Article 5 commitments. By
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specialization will
consequences :
risk the
3. Better use of technology. The initiative
interoperability among NATO partners.
Significant reduction of their long-term
strategic flexibility;
Even greater transfer of their political
freedom to act into the hands of their states;
Inability to continue providing higly visible
international missions;
Suffering of their defence industries;
Loss of their ability to join non-NATO
operations, led for instance by the UN or
the EU;
Loss of their ability to prepare officers with
proper qualifications to function in an
operational environment in NATO´s various
headquarters – thus leaving it to only the
big member states to man the posts
concerned in a qualified way. [4]
The Initiative is aimed make it possible to achieve
the goal of NATO Forces 2020: modern, tightly
connected forces which are equipped, trained,
exercised and commanded so that they can operate,
together and with partners, in any environment.
Indeed, the ultimate goal of the Connected Forces
Initiative is to maintain and enhance the level of
combat effectiveness that NATO have reached
through a decade of continuous operations.
A true first goal for Smart Defence would be to
better coordinate the work of the Alliance with the
modest but real role of the EU, while respecting the
independence and respective roles of the two
organizations. NATO should also take into account
the views of the European Allies who seek to
preserve a coherent defence capability and
a technological and industrial base. „NATO and the
EU share common values and strategic interests.
The EU is a uniqe and essential partner for NATO.“
One of the most promising solutions in Smart
Defence is cross-border collaboration. By aligning
the use of their fixed military infrastructure, sharing
facilities and services, or buying and maintaining
next generation of weapons together, countries can
maintain capabilities which would otherwise by
threatened by budget cuts. Examples of this are the
Franco-British Defence Agreement, Nordic Defence
Cooperation (NORDEFCO - Denmark, Finland,
Iceland, Norway and Sweden) or Visegrad Group
cooperation (V4 - Czech Republic, Hungary,
Poland, Slovak Republic).
3.2 Obstacles and limitations to Smart
In spite of the promising aspects of Smart Defence,
there are also limitations and obstacles to the level
of multinational integration it is possible to achieve.
As a key part of Smart Defence the Chicago Summit
also formally has approved the Secretary General’s
Connected Forces Initiative. According to the
Secretary General, the Connected Forces Initiative
will complement Smart Defence by “mobilizing all
of NATO’s resources so we strengthen our ability to
work together in a truly connected way.“ [5]
The Connected Forces Initiative has three parts:
1. Training and education. This part focuses
on getting more value for the Alliance from
national education facilities;
2. Increased exercises. NATO training has
been reduced over the years due to the high
operational tempo of NATO forces, which
have been deployed in Afghanistan and
other locations. As these operational
commitments decrease, the number of
training events should increase;
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For Smart Defence to work, NATO
members must be willing to give up certain
capabilities so that the alliance can
collectively fund and maintain them.
However, this creates the risk that a shared
capability will not be available or
authorized for use when another member
state needs it.
Some nations, as for most Allies, have
certain national tasks and responsibilities
that must be handled on a national basis.
Therefore, shared units in the force structure
are currently not on their agenda. The same
goes for specialization in critical
capabilities. Some nations have decided to
maintain a full spectrum of basic military
capabilities in order to remain capable to
deal with vital national requirements. This
should however not be in the way of
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Weimar Triangle (Germany, France and Poland)
and the Ghent Initiative. Only this last initiative, in
which all EU states are involved, is really new.
significant multinational cooperation in
capability development.
Another danger would be if nations start
looking to Smart Defence as a convenient
way to avoid providing their fair share and
reasonable burden of national assets to the
Alliance. Smart Defence only makes sense
if it brings new capabilities to the Alliance,
or contributes to maintain capabilities that
otherwise could not have been sustained.
Smart Defence is no substitute for
commitment to Defence.
Neither should Smart Defence come in the
way of fair burden sharing. It would be very
harmful if NATO Capability Goals left by
one nation as a result of defence cuts are
simply shifted to other nations – under the
pretext of specialization and Smart Defence.
Fair burden sharing should still be a primary
objective of the NATO Defence Planning
At the Ghent summit in September 2010 EU
defence ministers agreed to draw up an inventory of
projects where they could pool and share their
military capabilities. The EDA was tasked to
identify the most urgent area and the initial
identified area of priority cooperation was endorsed
by the EDA’s Steering Board, comprising EU
defence ministers, in November 2011.
It comprises:
3.3 What is Pooling and Sharing
Pooling and sharing (P&S) is also an old concept. It
appears in the 2003 European security strategy and
both the EU and NATO have agencies dedicated to
identifying joint projects. The term Pooling and
Sharing describes various forms of defence
cooperation. Sharing – one or more countries
provide their partners with capability or equipment
(such as airlift) or undertake a task for another
country. If this occurs on a permanent basis, the
partners can cut this capability – and save on costs.
For example, NATO states take turns to police the
Baltic airspace so that the Baltic countries can save
the cost of having their own air forces.
Pooling – here too, national capabilities are
provided to other countries. A special multinational
structure is set up to pool these contributions and
coordinate their deployment. The European Air
Transport Command is one such example. Pooling
can occur in the development, procurement or
subsequent operation of shared equipment. This
enables countries to either obtain a higher number of
units or to co-acquire a capability that a state could
not supply alone for cost reasons. Examples of joint
procurement and operation include AWACS aircraft
and NATO’s command structures.
Three topics are consistently ignored: role
specialisation, the arms industry and additional
investments. Role specialisation takes place if a
state gives up certain capabilities and concentrates
only on a few others. Many European states refuse
to do so as they are afraid of mutual dependence.
Nevertheless, such role specialisation is already
taking place – but it is involuntary, uncoordinated
and has major consequences for the capability of all
partners. In the medium term, P&S can help to
dismantle superfluous and costly industrial
structures when identical material is procured.
However, this process must be steered in order to
avoid a specialisation by default that has already
occurred with capabilities and to ensure that vital
and rare industrial skills are not lost.
While P&S can halt the deterioration of existing
capabilities, countries can only share what they
have. Gaps that are found all over Europe, for
example in reconnaissance, can only be filled by
extra investments. NATO’s operations in Libya in
2011 showed just how large these gaps are.
So far, these initiatives have been disparate, with the
aims and number of participants varying widely.
Apart from some positive developments such as airto-air refuelling, the results have not been
Bilateral and multilateral P&S initiatives are
experiencing a renaissance among the EU states
since 2010. The most important initiatives are the
Franco-British Defence Treaties, the cooperation
between the Visegrad states (the Visegrad Four), the
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Helicopter training
Maritime surveillance
European Satellite Communication
Procurement Cell
Medical field hospitals
Air-to-air refuelling
Future military satellite communications
Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance
Pilot training
European transport hubs
Smart munitions
Naval logistics and training .[7]
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satisfactory or adequate to meet the scale of the
challenges involved.
Moreover, these activities often do not serve the
goal of maintaining joint European military
capability, but rather seek to achieve national
targets. As a result, the debate is limited to a few
military capabilities.
Some initiatives even duplicate or block each other.
For example, the Franco-British Defence Treaty
duplicates a mine-clearing project by the European
Defence Agency (EDA).
3.4 Obstacles and limitations to Pooling and
P&S is not a panacea. However, it is a necessary
pillar to save future European defence.
Accompanying measures are needed to shape
current role specialisations and additional
investments in the acquisition of the required
capabilities in a way that allows states to maintain
Europe’s defence capability.
P&S can only help to provide solutions if states are
willing to rethink the precedence of political
sovereignty over military effectiveness and
economic efficiency. In concrete terms, this means
that they must ask three questions as regards future
P&S projects:
• A) Under what conditions do they trust a
cooperation partner and to what extent can
they curtail their wish to make unilateral
decisions in the interests of the defence
needs of others?
• B) Is the cooperation effective in military
• C) Does it enable for savings?
In addition, states must establish a joint framework
for the counterproductively wide range of current
cooperation projects in order to focus on the
political, military and economic value added of P&S
initiatives. This should include the following
• Set up a permanent European Council on
defence affairs. Europe needs to decide
about the shape of its future defence
capabilities and about the industrial basis
that builds and backs this capability. As it is
likely that Europeans will cooperate more
often on multilateral military activities in
the next 20 years, the current national
reforms, plans and P&S projects should
primarily safeguard joint operations. Hence,
the aim should be to have efficient
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European armed forces rather than to give
preference to national plans, as has been the
case so far. These priorities can only be set
by heads of state and government in a
resolution that commits their defence,
foreign and finance ministers to concrete
aims. The success achieved should be
checked every year.
Draw up a joint capability chart as the
basis for role specialisation and
cooperation. A European capability chart
could be drawn up on the basis of the
priorities set by the heads of state. This
chart will provide information about how
capabilities can be sensibly built up or
scaled down. Along with preventive
consultation, the chart could enable Europe
to avoid further drastic cutbacks.
Specialization would be oriented in
a direction diametrically opposite to the
existing duplication of defence industry
products. If only a few countries were
supposed to possess the same capabilities,
then the variety of weapons systems would
shrink and consequently some industries
would inevitably be left behind – or have to
try a re-orient their production towards
other areas, military or civilian. Whether
this would be technically and economically
do able is difficult to predict. And which
should those industries be? Which countries
would be supposed to volunteer for laying
down or changing their national defence
industries, and which should enjoy the
privilege of keeping theirs?
Overcome distrust. There are two ways of
dealing with a lack of trust: states could
either sign legally binding agreements on
the provision of capabilities, as is the case
in the Franco-British Defence Treaty.
Moreover, they could compensate for the
possibility of a partner’s non-participation
with redundancy in their military
capabilities. For example, the decision of a
state to withdraw its airplanes from a
mission must not lead to a collapse in
European air transport capability. Partners
that withdraw from an operation could
undertake to use their aircraft to carry out
routine duties in compensation, thus
relieving those who want to deploy their
airplanes in the operation of such tasks.
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combined with the depth of NATO’s role on defence.
The two organizations must continue to reinforce
each other’s work. The Libya crisis again showed
the clear need for this,” she said at the annual
conference of the European Defence Agency in
January 2012. “On capabilities in particular,
whether labeled Pooling & Sharing or Smart
Defence, we have achieved an unprecedented level
of cooperation.” [10]
Use price tags. Anyone wanting to save
money first needs to know how much he is
spending. For the most part, it is not
possible to prove the savings that have been
attributed to P&S. It is also difficult to
provide figures for the costs of noncooperation. Every task undertaken in or by
Europe’s armed forces therefore needs to
have a price tag. It is not easy to calculate
prices – then again, it is not impossible.
NATO has already presented a list of
savings made through P&S projects.
NATO and EU staffs are closely coordinating this
work to avoid overlaps between the “smart defence”
and the “pooling and sharing” initiatives. A core
problem is that NATO´s European budgets and
forces are scattered among twenty-six sovereign
countries, and they cannot be easily be combined for
either strategic planning or actual operations. The
strategic challenge facing NATO and its European
members is therefore to gain greater military and
operational mileage from these sizable resources by
making better use of them. A better-prepared, more
usable NATO and European military posture is well
within the range of resource feasibility if greater
multilateral collaboration can be achieved. In these
terms, Smart Defence and Pooling & Sharing could
really bring added value to NATO and EU. But
there are also problems and national governments
do have another simple option – simply not to
cooperate maintaining their respective individual
spheres of sovereignty, even if severely weakened.
Paradoxically, many governments would rather have
autonomous and useless militaries than integrated
and capable ones. But what are the reasons for the
national governments’ reluctance to cooperate and
their desire to preserve their sovereignty? Four main
obstacles are:
3.5 Smart Defence and Pooling & Sharing
NATO’s relations with the European Union go back
twenty years: the 1992 Maastricht Treaty was the
first EU treaty to mention NATO. Today, at a time
of financial crisis and reductions in defence budgets,
it is more important that ever for the two
organizations to strengthen cooperation, spend more
intelligently, and improve the complementarity of
their defence capabilities in order to meet common
security challenges.
„Pooling and sharing is an old concept : it
appears in the 2003 European security stategy
and both the EU and NATO have agencies
dedicated to identifying joint projects (the EDA
and the Allied Command Transformation, ACT,
respectively). [8] The Alliance and the EU are two
of the most important institutions in the world with
complementary skills and assets. While the NATOEU partnership has yet to fulfil its strategic potential
much progress has been made, over the past twenty
years, in developing a framework for close
cooperation. “The financial crisis is one more
reason why we should strive for greater cooperation
between the European Union and NATO. The
benefit is clear. If we work together, then both our
institutions can emerge stronger from these times of
economic difficulty,” explained NATO Secretary
General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, addressing the
chairmen of parliamentary committees on foreign
affairs from across the EU in April 2012.[9]
High Representative Catherine Ashton has also
stressed the need for continuing cooperation in this
area. “The EU relationship with NATO is essential.
The breadth of EU instruments can be usefully
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Trust deficit – a paramount political
constraint for Pooling & Sharing is the
considerable trust and shared sense of
identity which are necessary when security
issues are on the table. To be successful,
Smart Defence and P&S must therefore
invest in trust-building and tailor its project
so as to take into account the shared sense
of identity countries might have.
Level of Ambition – more than the
geography or size if the countries involved
variables), what really determines defence
and security policies is the national Level of
Ambition. This is the major factor when
military capabilities are being shared and a
delicate balance is required to achieve a
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successful Smart Defence and P&S policy.
Three Level of Ambition can be identified :
A) The ambition to maintain full –spectrum
forces and be a global independent
military actor
B) The ambition to enhance sustainable
deployability of armed forces in distant
theatres for a limited period for time
and within multilateral stability
C) The ambition to develop niche
capabilities and work towards role
NATO needs to continuously transform in order to
muster sufficient deployable, professional, flexible,
usable and sustainable expeditionary forces for its
international commitments. In times of economic
crisis and shrinking defence budgets, meeting the
force requirements – qualitatively and quantitatively
– for NATO´s ongoing and future operations will
become even more challenging than to date. The
way ahead is through further transformation –
including Smart Defence. At the Chicago Summit in
May 2012 NATO heads of states and government
approved a concrete package of multinational
projects, including for better protection of NATO
forces, better surveillance and better training. These
projects should deliver improved operational
effectiveness, economies of scale, and closer
connections between NATO forces. They will also
provide experience for more such Smart Defence
projects in the long term. But the Smart Defence
initiative risks allowing European countries to
believe that they can do more with less, when in
actuality they will be doing less with less. The
language describing Smart Defence may read well
in a summit declaration, but until real money is
invested and delivers real capabilities to the
modern-day battlefield, it will be meaningless to the
men and women on the front lines. To work, Smart
Defence requires real military capability and real
money. No clever nomenclature can evade this
NATO/EU partnership – since 21 out of 28
NATO Allies are also EU members, and
declining defence budgets are concentrated
primarily in Europe, Smart Defence can
hardly ignore the political role played by the
EU in promotion of Pooling & Sharing
initiatives. Indeed, the EU is strongly
promoting its own “pooling and sharing”
policy and has recently welcomed its
members states´ commitments to specific
concrete projects facilitated by the work of
the European Defence Agency.
Role specialization – another challenging
element. Role specialisation remains
substantially different in its dynamics from
other initiatives of this kind like burden
sharing, pooling of assets, standardization,
or closer cooperation. The primary question
is thus what degree of specialisation Smart
Defence and P&S is likely to promote : a
„flexible“ approach or more „rigid“ one?
Naturally, a specialised Alliance (EU)
capabilities structure would require a high
degree of cohesion to guarantee that a full
spectrum of capabilities is always available
regardless of the participation of willing
nations in any future combined task force.
Creating such cohesion therefore appears to
be a major political challenge which NATO
and EU need to address, and must
ultimately be a crucial element in achieving
effective Smart Defence or P&S policy.
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The same situation is in EU. The main challenge for
EU members is to link pooling and sharing as a
European initiative with the national defence
planning processes. EU Defence Ministers at the last
meeting in September 2012 discussed the issue of
pooling and sharing in support of developing
military capabilities. Ministers also welcomed the
European Defence Agency’s proposal to develop a
voluntary code of conduct on pooling and sharing,
and emphasized the need to make this process more
systematic and sustainable in the long run. “EDA
will continue to drive Pooling & Sharing forward as
a pragmatic, flexible and cost-effective model, and
avoiding bureaucratisation. The Code of Conduct
will facilitate cooperation, and make Pooling &
Sharing sustainable now and in the future". [11]
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It is time to act.
Other sources:
[12] Ingebrigtsen, Roger. Smart Defence – the
Norwegian perspective. Norwegian Institute for
Defence Studies Seminar, April 24, 2012, Oslo,
[13] Valášek, Tomáš, Edited, May 2, 2012, Towards
a smarter V4: How to improve defence
collaboration among the Czech Republic,
Hungary, Poland and Slovakia: DAV4 Expert
Group Report.
[14] Mölling, Christian. Pooling and Sharing in the
EU and NATO. European Defence Needs
Political Commitment rather than Technocratic
[1] Rasmussen, Fogh, Anders, September 30,
2011, Towards NATO’s Chicago Summit,
North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
[2] News release, Military Balance 2012,
International Institute for Strategic Studies,
March 7, 2012,
[3] Smart Defence projects and proposals
11sep2012, Extraction from SD Projects and
Proposals Database, North Atlantic Treaty
Organization HQ, September, 2012.
[4] Henius, Jakob – MacDonald, Leone, Jacopo,
March 2012, Smart Defense: A critical
Appraisal. NDC Rome.
[5] Rasmussen, Fogh, Anders. February 4, 2012.
Remarks. North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
[6] News release, May 20, 2012, Chicago Summit
Declaration, North Atlantic Treaty
Organization, Chicago, p 4
[7] Mulin, Jon, Pooling and Sharing is an art not
a science, Issue May – July 2012, European
Defence Matters on 21 May 2012, pp. 12-14,
ISSN 1977-5059.
[8] Valášek, Tomáš, Surviving austerity : The case
for a new approach to EU military
collaboration, April 2011, 1. London : Centre
for European Reform, ISBN9781901229981
[9] Video record. April 23, 2012. Committee on
Foreign Affairs EU.
[10] EDA Annual conference, January 31, 2012.
[11] France-Arnould, Claude. EDA Chief of
Executive, EU Ministers of Defence meeting,
September 2012.
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