[A-List] The end of NATO? EU developments
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Sun Mar 17 23:45:29 MST 2002
I'll respond to certain questions raised under this thread in recent days when I get enough time. For the time being, here's more evidence of what an industrious conduit Mr Bruce can be in these interesting times in which we live. If anything it corroborates some earlier points about the UK's desire to spread the cost of its police actions.
Europe develop satellite guidance system
The Herald, 18 March 2002
EUROPE'S leaders have approved the
development of a £500m satellite navigational
system which could give the planned Euro-army
the ability to conduct a hi-tech military campaign
without reliance on US equipment.
The Galileo project, a series of 40 satellites
intended primarily for civilian use, is designed to
provide pinpoint navigational data as an alternative
to the US global positioning system.
The White House considers that an independent
EU force could undermine the Nato alliance and
there was pressure on Tony Blair, the prime
minister, into demanding at the weekend's
Barcelona economic summit that Galileo be used
"only for civilian purposes".
However, the system could easily be used to help
target cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs,
which are reliant on satellite positioning fixes to
guarantee accuracy in military strikes.
The Kosovo campaign showed up the glaring
weaknesses in Europe's military capabilities
compared to those of the US, and the limited use of
allied assets in Afghanistan has merely reinforced
the technology gap.
Military analysts say the proposed Euro-army
remains deficient in 55 of 140 key areas, notably
satellite guidance, heavy-lift transport aircraft, and
stocks of precision-guided munitions, and remains
incapable of mounting major operations without
massive American support.
An attempt to build a common European troop
transport aircraft, the A400M, seems set to founder
because Germany cannot afford to pay for the
batch it is committed to order.
Even if finance can be arranged, it will be eight to
10 years before the heavy-lift transport enters
A recent US Rand Corporation think-tank study
claimed that EU countries would have to spend up
to £40bn over the next decade just to keep pace
with technological advances to allow them to fight
effectively beside US troops, far less operate
independently. European members of Nato
currently invest £100bn on defence, but only 25%
of the £20,000 per soldier spent by the US on
research and development.
The EU goal is to be able to field a 60,000-strong
combat force for non-Nato missions, deploy it
within two weeks, and keep it in the field for up to a
year. The fledgling force has only a headquarters
and the promise of troop contingents so far.
Its first test is likely to come in Macedonia, where
separatist Albanian rebels are showing signs of
preparation for a spring campaign and international
peacekeepers, who intervened last year to end the
bloodshed, are poised to leave.
The UK's top brass have already told government
ministers that the British army is too overstretched
to become in-volved in a deteriorating security
situation in the Balkan state.
They have also expressed fears of an
embarrassing failure for any EU peacekeeping
mission and predicted that it might have to be
rescued by Nato, reinforcing American arguments.
Final approval for the Galileo funding is to be
granted at an EU meeting on March 26, and the
satellites would then be built and launched over the
next few years.
Full article at:
Mercuria Business School
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
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