Nr 6 2011
On Pooling and Sharing
Much effort within the European defense community is presently devoted to the concept of Pooling and Sharing (P&S), with jointly utilized, or even jointly owned resources.
An EU-appointed committee of four “wise men” (among which are to be found the Finnish NAD, and the former French NAD) have produced a food-for-thought paper on P&S, which clearly identifies the opportunities of P&S, but also the challenges. In addition, there is a short-list of 15 areas (e.g. CBRN, and air-to-air refueling) where nations, through their Chiefs of Defense, have expressed interest. Conspicuously, the UK is wholly absent from this list.
At the upcoming EDA Steering Board on Nov. 30, Ministers are expected to endorse the food-for-thought paper, and the list of 15 areas. In addition, there is an expectation that nations will step forward and volunteer as lead nations for some of the areas suggested.
The Ministers will no doubt be able to endorse the quoted documents, which are at a fairly abstract level. The real challenges arise in the next step in the process, when the required concrete measures will affect, in all nations involved, industrial policy, employment, regional politics and how to spend tax money. Ultimately, it’s a question of trust and sovereignty, and it will take significant political will and courage to take the idea of P&S forward.
Several nations have produced papers based on the implicit assumption that the paper’s nation of origin will maintain and share its resources with others, with the others winding down, or even closing, their own corresponding resources. This does not bode well for the future of the important and promising idea of P&S.