Since 2008, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has been producing a Capability Development Plan (CDP) to address security and defence challenges in the short-, mid- and longer-term. It looks at future security scenarios and makes recommendations about the capabilities European militaries will need to react to a variety of potential developments.
The CDP is a comprehensive planning method providing a picture of European military capabilities over time. It can be used by Member States’ defence planners when identifying priorities and opportunities for cooperation. The European Defence Agency is coordinating this work with Member States and other stakeholders such as the EU Military Committee. The CDP benefits from several inputs such as the Headline Goal Process, studies on long-term trends, lessons from operations and information on current plans and programmes.
The CDP is regularly updated and the latest version was approved by Defence Ministers in November 2014. Currently the CDP is under revision and will provide a new set of priorities in spring 2018 which will specify and complement the priorities, highlighted in the EU Global Strategy, the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence as well as the European Defence Action Plan.
A tool for increased cooperation
The Capability Development Plan facilitates the decision making process at EU level. It allows to identify priorities and opportunities for cooperation. It also supports national capability planning processes by adding complete EU data, and allows the identification and coordination of potential opportunities for cooperation. The information provided also supports the national acquisition process helping to identify what equipment better comprises the prioritised capabilities.
As a complete tool for EU capability planning, the CDP comprises:
- A stocktaking of European military capabilities
- Assessment of existing and planned capabilities
- Identification of European capability military shortfalls
- Agreement on priority actions
This provides a full capability picture that helps capability planners to identify and achieve the right actions to be taken from a EU perspective, and a better and more complete national planning from the Member State’s point of view.
Based on the identified trends, information gathered from Member States and the European Union Military Staff, capability shortfall assessments, and pooling and sharing opportunities, a set of priority actions are selected by Member States. These can be undertaken either inside or outside the EDA framework. This list of priorities is intended to be detailed enough to provide guidance to the work needed to make progress on prioritised capabilities. The priorities identified in 2014 featured renewed focus on high-end warfare, including a larger maritime dimension. The revised CDP 2018 will include in addition military implications of Hybrid Threats, as well as R&T dimension and some industrial perspectives, relevant for capability development.