Build a Globally Capable European Military

Good comes from strength — it is of little use to be good and weak.

Doing good requires being strong enough to act, to defend oneself and others.

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The European Union is home to the second highest number of active military personnel in the world with a combined total of over 1.9 million active troops. In terms of defense spending, the European Union is the second highest in the world, significantly higher than countries commonly branded as “great powers”, e.g. China, Russia.

Defense Spending, BUSD, 2020

Yet despite this, Europe lacks the autonomy and strength to defend its own interests and citizens against external threats. The war in Ukraine has proven beyond a doubt the importance of defense cooperation with our traditional allies, within the existing framework of Western alliances.

While the current political debate is focused on increasing defense spending in Europe, the real challenge facing the EU is not lack of funding, but lack of a developed defense industry. As Germany’s recent decision to increase spending by 100B EUR shows, the real challenge is not to find money, but where to spend it. 

Without a strong European defense industry, increasing spending means Europe will find itself buying foreign weapons, strengthening the defense sectors and funding the defense R&D investments of other powers. 

Therefore, our long-term defense strategy must be three-pronged: 

  1. Create a strong European defense industry, with the production capacity and technological advances needed for a global military power
  2. Build a globally capable defense force that deters adversaries, assures partners, achieves geopolitical objectives, and increases standing as responsible NATO partner 
  3. Create the necessary cultural, educational, organizational, logistical, and procurement conditions for establishing world-class military within ten years

To achieve these strategic objectives, the following immediate actions should be considered:

Consolidate command, training, procurement, and logistics for all military spending and deployment of EU countries
Invest in the European defense sector, building up production capacity to sustain the building of a global military force
Increase defense spending to 3% of EU GDP for 10 years, to catch up with other military powers, and then ramp down spending to 2% of GDP thereafter
Invest in a credible nuclear deterrent, which should include full triad capabilities (ICBM, submarine, strategic bombing)
Build a world-class blue water navy centered around carrier capabilities and next-gen diesel submarine technology
Accelerate diplomatic outreach to secure access to naval bases, especially in strategic locations in Asia and Africa
Create a European Cyber Command with forward defense capabilities, and with the legal mandate to disrupt and halt any cyber threat at its source
Invest in warfare capabilities of the future including AI, robotics and quantum computing

United we can keep the peace that has graced this continent for decades. Keeping the peace against the rise of Eastern totalitarianism, stepping up to our defense commitments to our key Western alliances, and supporting our allies and partners around the world. Europe needs the means to which to defend itself, our interests, and our allies around the world.