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This is a discussion on European army within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; With all the talk about trying to create a European army. I was wondering what people's views were. I personally ...


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
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European army

With all the talk about trying to create a European army. I was wondering what people's views were. I personally don't think it is a good idea. On paper it would look like creating a large capable force but my issue with it is who is in control when it comes to actually use it.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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The control issue is probably why a European army hasn't been created. The "E" in EU is really economic not European. The member states still have their own foreign affairs departments and their views and interests do differ. The priority for certain types of military kit is also an issue. A force dedicated to the sole purpose of defending Europe (NATO lite) should be possible but for stuff outside Europe, member states need their own forces if they are going to have independent foreign policy IMO.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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With all the talk about trying to create a European army. I was wondering what people's views were. I personally don't think it is a good idea. On paper it would look like creating a large capable force but my issue with it is who is in control when it comes to actually use it.
My question is who is going to pay for it.

My even more cynical belief is this is mainly an exercise in setting up a shadow buyer for Euro domestic arms manufacturers.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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A force dedicated to the sole purpose of defending Europe (NATO lite) should be possible but for stuff outside Europe, member states need their own forces if they are going to have independent foreign policy IMO.
Development at least in Germany, France, Benelux runs in the direction of a heavier force integrated with each other, with lighter highly deployable - and high-readiness - troops split off and retained under more national control while force multipliers are pooled at European level.

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My question is who is going to pay for it.
PESCO contains the 2% target as a mandatory entry condition.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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With all the talk about trying to create a European army. I was wondering what people's views were. I personally don't think it is a good idea. On paper it would look like creating a large capable force but my issue with it is who is in control when it comes to actually use it.
Without a credible nuclear capability what good would it be anyway? Only the UK and France possess them. Is the UK's arsenal independent anyway? How is any conventional EU force going to be a deterrent in the face of Russia's nuclear arsenal?

Any talk of an EU force without this is just an utter joke. It makes me laugh that before the Berlin wall fell NATO had a credible deterrent; now it's all but disappeared, yet Russia have completely modernised theirs. An utter joke imho.
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Without a credible nuclear capability what good would it be anyway? Only the UK and France possess them. Is the UK's arsenal independent anyway? How is any conventional EU force going to be a deterrent in the face of Russia's nuclear arsenal?

Any talk of an EU force without this is just an utter joke. It makes me laugh that before the Berlin wall fell NATO had a credible deterrent; now it's all but disappeared, yet Russia have completely modernised theirs. An utter joke imho.
You have a very strange world view. You think conventional deterrence plays no role against a nuclear adversary? Not all conflicts are worth escalating to that level. Most actually aren't. Conventional deterrence is adequate for limited wars. In a total war against Russia, there's NATO, who has 3 nuclear-capable members.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Development at least in Germany, France, Benelux runs in the direction of a heavier force integrated with each other, with lighter highly deployable - and high-readiness - troops split off and retained under more national control while force multipliers are pooled at European level.


PESCO contains the 2% target as a mandatory entry condition.
Yup.

Germany's committed to increasing to 2%, & I think has increased spending by about 10% this year. If maintained, that should bring Germany to 2% on or ahead of schedule, & that's a lot of money, & a big overall increase in EU defence spending.

23 EU countries have just signed up to PESCO. The exceptions are the UK (well, it's leaving the EU), Denmark, Ireland, Malta & Portugal.

The Netherlands & Germany have signed up for A330 MRTT tankers to replace their old DC-10s & A310s, pooled with Belgium, Luxembourg & Norway. Poland & other countries are thinking of joining. The tankers ordered so far have significantly more capability than those currently operated by the consortium members, & options have been signed for more.

Germany & France are pooling some of their transport aircraft. And so on.
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Germany & France are pooling some of their transport aircraft. And so on.
Pretty much all new-procured transport aircraft are being pooled in the former WEU, beyond just Germany and France. EATC is the command authority and primary dispatch for air transport for its members and handles all of their transport orders worldwide - currently about 10,000 sorties with 50,000 flight hours, 450 air-to-air refuelings, 20,000 tons of cargo, 1,000 medical flights and 330,000 passengers per year.
This dispatching includes coordination of requirements, such as pooling together air transport needs of multiple members in forward theaters to reduce number of required assets (applied regularly e.g. in Mali). The fleet available through EATC to its members consists of 200 aircraft - though one-quarter of that is short-haul - and is set to grow to around 240 aircraft with ongoing A400M and planned A330MRTT procurement. All 138 A400M in the EU27 will be run through EATC, making up the majority of its fleet by then.

PESCO contains ... let's call them "explicit reminders" in its requirements (!) that member states should use such joint pools like EATC (for air transport) or MCCE (for sea transport).

What Germany and France are setting up goes beyond pooling and is a fully integrated jointly operated squadron, to be stationed at a single airbase in France.

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23 EU countries have just signed up to PESCO. The exceptions are the UK (well, it's leaving the EU), Denmark, Ireland, Malta & Portugal.
Ireland and Portugal will probably join within the next 3-4 weeks (before the signed letter officially goes to the EU commission), they both have to first calm some local politics on that.
Denmark is not allowed to until it has that referendum Venstre promised two years ago and that's nowhere in sight; Malta has some pretty strange ideas about neutrality based on its constitution.
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You have a very strange world view. You think conventional deterrence plays no role against a nuclear adversary? Not all conflicts are worth escalating to that level. Most actually aren't. Conventional deterrence is adequate for limited wars. In a total war against Russia, there's NATO, who has 3 nuclear-capable members.
Who is to say that NATO would step in if Russia attacked a member of the new EU Military Force? Say Finland who is not a NATO member. If a new force is to be credible it needs to look like NATO and have teeth like NATO I would think.

It needs to have short to medium range missiles at the border like Russia has. A symmetrical situation.
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Who is to say that NATO would step in if Russia attacked a member of the new EU Military Force? Say Finland who is not a NATO member. If a new force is to be credible it needs to look like NATO and have teeth like NATO I would think.

It needs to have short to medium range missiles at the border like Russia has. A symmetrical situation.
Is it the missiles that matter or the capabilities that they provide?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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Who is to say that NATO would step in if Russia attacked a member of the new EU Military Force? Say Finland who is not a NATO member. If a new force is to be credible it needs to look like NATO and have teeth like NATO I would think.
Under the Lisbon Treaty every EU member has to consider an attack against its own as an attack on themselves, which by deference would turn an attack on a EU member into an attack on NATO. Not that it'd matter - because unlike NATO, the EU by treaty places its entire capability set at the hands of the attacked member.

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It needs to have short to medium range missiles at the border like Russia has. A symmetrical situation.
Gee, and that's why they did have plans to acquire ATACMS, which would have placed all of St. Petersburg in artillery range in a Seoul-style standoff. Until someone chose to actually take a good, hard look at the budget.
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What Germany and France are setting up goes beyond pooling and is a fully integrated jointly operated squadron, to be stationed at a single airbase in France....
All of the aircraft of one type operated by them, IIRC.
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Is it the missiles that matter or the capabilities that they provide?
I’d lean to capability for sure. That said, wouldn’t these nations NOT been encumbered by the INF treaty?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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All of the aircraft of one type operated by them, IIRC.
Pretty much, yeah.

The overall structure and disposition in air transport and refueling for Germany and France - with all below units under EATC operational command - will basically look rather streamlined like
  • Evreux AB : (FR/GE) C-130J squadron / (FR) CN-235 squadron
  • Orleans AB: (FR) A400M wing (3 squadrons)
  • Wunstorf AB : (GE) A400M wing (3 squadrons)
  • Eindhoven AB: (GE/NL) A330MRTT squadron
  • Istres AB: (FR) A330MRTT squadron
plus the VIP transport squadrons (at Berlin and in Velizy, a suburb of Paris). The above squadrons each have about 12-14 aircraft, including the CN-235 squadron (the other CN-235 are detached to overseas bases and not under EATC command).
Somewhat oddly recent reorganization have even made the wing numbers continuous; the two A400M wings above are the 61st (Orleans) and 62nd (Wunstorf).

In addition there's another, fourth (GE) A400M squadron of the same size - still trying to get rid of these, currently intended for a possible joint unit with other countries, looking southeast. Until that comes about they'll operate under command of the 62nd Air Transport Wing, but from a detached base. Apparently their use is now being turned into a PESCO project...

Otherwise for the EATC transport fleet there'll be only a few more main bases:
  • Brussels-Melsbroek AB: (BE) partial A400M squadron
  • Zaragoza AB: (ES) A400M squadron / (ES) A400M squadron
  • Madrid-Getafe AB: (ES) C-295 squadron
  • Pisa AB: (IT) C-130J squadron / (IT) C-130H squadron / (IT) C-27J squadron
Each structured with the same numbers as above (12-14). Italy additionally has its four KC-767A stationed separately at Practica di Mare AB. The Belgian unit would come up to 12 when combined with Dutch C-130H co-stationed with the A330 squadron at Eindhoven AB (where EATC itself is; about 100 km from Brussels).
The second Spanish A400M squadron at Zaragoza will probably be cut.

Last edited by kato; 3 Weeks Ago at 02:08 PM.
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In addition there's another, fourth (GE) A400M squadron of the same size - still trying to get rid of these, currently intended for a possible joint unit with other countries, looking southeast. Until that comes about they'll operate under command of the 62nd Air Transport Wing, but from a detached base. Apparently their use is now being turned into a PESCO project...
I seem to recall reading that Germany was looking to on-sell some of their early A400M delivers, is this the case with the squadron you are referring to? IIRC it was something like the first 13 deliveries.
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