Press release

New security report outlines path to jumpstart European defence cooperation

© MSC / Kuhlmann

Report by Centre for International Security Policy at the Hertie School, Munich Security Conference and McKinsey offers five choices to build capability.

Berlin, 30 November 2017 – A new report by the Centre for International Security Policy at the Hertie School (CISP), the Munich Security Conference (MSC) and McKinsey & Company outlines five key choices European leaders must make to build forces that will confront looming security threats. More European, More Connected and More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future, released on 30 November, asserts that European partners now have a window of opportunity to pool resources and meet challenges such as cyberthreats, instability in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and a more aggressive Russia.

At a time when the United States has signalled it may be less willing to keep up its previous level of military support and Europe’s security environment is deteriorating, Europe’s military capabilities suffer from previous cuts in defence budgets, long-lasting engagements in military operations abroad, and a resulting availability crisis. In some countries, up to half of the equipment, from infantry vehicles to helicopters, is not operational.

“It is unacceptable that the security of 500 million Europeans to a large extent still depends on 320 million Americans,” CISP Director and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger says. “The report seeks to encourage new thinking on taking European defence cooperation one step further and provides some answers how some of the lost capabilities could be regained, and how Europe could jointly improve its defence effort.”

In a YouGov survey conducted exclusively for the report, 75 percent of Europeans in six large states said they favour close cooperation between Europe’s national armies in the future; 41 percent favoured such substantial cooperation that national armies could only be deployed by individual states to a very limited extent, while only 6 percent said European armies should not cooperate in the future.

Given increasing defence budgets in Europe and a growing consensus that more European cooperation is needed, the authors argue that policymakers must not waste the opportunity to build effective and efficient European armed forces. Otherwise they would risk repeating the mistakes of the past and perpetuating the existing level of fragmentation for the coming decades.

Among the five choices for creating more connected and more capable forces, the report says Europe’s leaders need to prioritise equipment, invest in making more equipment available, move towards joint planning and procurement, take a top-down approach to industry planning and push innovation through defence research and development.

CISP was founded as a Hertie School research centre and space for public security policy debates in 2016 under the leadership of Professor Wolfgang Ischinger. Its partnership with the Munich Security Conference (MSC) fosters networking among security policy actors, academia and the wider public in Germany and abroad. 

Find more about the CISP on the Hertie School website ( and follow the centre on Twitter: @CISP_Hertie

The Hertie School is a private university based in Berlin, accredited by the State and the German Science Council. Interdisciplinary and practice-oriented teaching, first-class research and an extensive international network set the Hertie School apart and position it as an ambassador of good governance, characterised by public debate and engagement. The School was founded at the end of 2003 as a project of the Hertie Foundation, which remains its major partner.

Press contact: Regine Kreitz, Head of Communications, Tel.: 030 / 259 219 113, Fax: 030 / 259 219 444, Email: pressoffice[at]hertie-school[dot]org