EDA Presents Hybrid Threat Exercise Findings to Defence Ministers
(Source: European Defence Agency; issued April 19, 2016)
LUXEMBOURG --- Ministers of Defence today met in the European Defence Agency (EDA) Steering Board, under the chairmanship of Federica Mogherini in her capacity as Head of the Agency.

The EDA presented among other things progress of the four cooperative capability programmes, the interim report on the implementation of the Policy Framework for Systematic and Long-Term Defence Cooperation as well as a preliminary implementation roadmap for a dual-use strategy on RPAS regulation.

Furthermore, the Agency highlighted the key findings of the hybrid threats table-top exercise it conducted last month.

The exercise involved some 80 experts from Member States, EU institutions and NATO. It underlined for example the critical importance of strategic awareness to allow Member States to detect and identify hybrid threats.

The detection of hostile hybrid threats is the most challenging and yet most important aspect of an effective defence posture in this context.

Greater levels of information and intelligence and close cooperation between civil and military actors were identified as important.

Additionally, rapid decision-making and deployment of the necessary capabilities needs are necessary.

While in a hybrid threat scenario civil actors might be in the lead, the military must stand ready and provide decision-makers with the full scope of military capabilities if necessary. Specific focus should be given to the ability to communicate.

Therefore, the resilience, redundancy and protection of CIS networks remains vital and the contribution of more secure defence systems (including those using satellites) is important.

“The exercise was very useful as it allowed us to stress-test military capabilities in a hybrid threat environment. It also underlined the importance of close co-operation between military and civilian stakeholders in a hybrid threat scenario. However, we also saw that existing military capabilities should not be completely reoriented towards countering hybrid threats as the full spectrum of military missions must be considered”, Jorge Domecq, the Chief Executive of the EDA said. A second exercise in June will focus on the way ahead in different capability areas.

Ministers of Defence were also presented with an interim report on the implementation of the Policy Framework for Systematic and Long-Term Defence Cooperation. The interim report – which was compiled on the basis of questionnaires sent to and completed by the Member States – highlights that the policy framework is well supported. The focus on information-sharing through the Agency’s Capability Development Plan as well as the Collaborative Database is deemed crucial by a large majority of Member States.

Defence Ministers endorsed a preliminary implementation roadmap for a dual-use strategy on RPAS regulation involving questions of rulemaking, standardisation, technological solutions and issues of cyber security. The EDA will now start consolidating the roadmap with the European Commission and other relevant actors.

The Steering Board tasked the Agency, in close coordination with Member States, to engage with the Commission in the preparation of the Space Strategy for Europe, to ensure that common military views of Member States are taken into account. Furthermore, the EDA will support Member States’ dialogue and consultation with the Commission in order to contribute to the European Defence Action Plan.

Jorge Domecq, the EDA Chief Executive, also informed Defence Ministers of recent activities in R&T. Between 2004 and the end of 2016, the Agency will have managed research projects with a total value of around € 1 billion in contributions by the Member States.

Mr Domecq also stressed that the EDA will continue to actively support Member States in their discussions with the European Commission in view of defining and agreeing on the research topics and priorities, the rules as well as the working modalities of the Preparatory Action (PA) on defence-related research scheduled to be launched in 2017.

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