EDA Gets Budget Boost as Europeans Make Pledges
The EU’s European Defense Agency has been busy during its short lifetime, attempting to create more transparent competition with fewer set-asides in European defense spending, consolidate national programs into international ones, work to develop technology and standards for UAV civil certification, and get some level of agreement regarding future areas of defense investment. Now a deal reached on Nov 19/07 will see the EDA budget take a significant jump from EUR 22 million (2007) to EUR 32 million in 2008. France had pushed to give the agency a 3-year budget, but Britain vetoed the proposal. A Reuters report quotes a senior British official as saying that “We don’t back a budget without seeing what we are paying for…”
The ministers pointed to “existing gaps” in strategic transport (NATO C-17 and the delayed A400M programs), force protection, and intelligence (vid. AGS et. al.) as key focus areas they hope the EDA will pursue. The ministers also set a series of “collective but voluntary” pledges, as part of a “framework for a joint Strategy on Defence Research & Technology.” Pledges include grow spending on new equipment from 19.4% to 20%, growing spending on multinational programs from 21% to 35%, and growing spending on R&D from 1.2% to 2%, with collaborative R&D spending doubling from 10% of that to 20%. Even so, those pledges to “spend more, spend better and spend more together,” are only useful if they are backed by action. This is an issue that has been a complaint in other venues as well, amidst future projections that show overall spending dropping or holding steady over the next 7 years. EDA release | EDA head report to the Council [PDF] | eu Council 2008 Guidelines for the EDA [PDF] | EU Observer story | DID multi-link Spotlight Article: “EU Procurement Challenges & Defense Weakness Debated“.