Press Release, IECEU – Increasing interoperability is a key mechanism for the CSDP to improve its efficiency

Increasing interoperability is a key mechanism for the CSDP to improve its efficiency

Interoperability relies on systems being able to both provide and accept services, units, tools and personnel, is the foundation of cooperation and pooling and sharing within crisis management. Poor interoperability or lack of interoperability leads to inefficiency, wasted resources and at the very worst, inability to act. There are a number of on-going processes and initiative within EU to increase interoperability.Strengthening interoperability is vital also within the civil-military environment, with the increasing focus on integrated crisis management operations and an even more complicated security environment in the European neighbourhood.

Through IECEU comparative analysis of interoperability in civilian CSDP crisis management missions (EULEX Kosovo, EUPOL Afghanistan, EUPOL COPPS, EUPOL RAFAH, EUBAM Libya, EUAVSEC South Sudan, EUFOR RD Congo, EUPOL Congo) and CSDP military operations (EUFOR Althea, EUFOR Tchad/RCA, EUFOR CAR, Operation Artemis (Congo)), IECEU has found potentials for enhancing interoperability in the current EU structures and practises. The seven key components of analysis on IECEU interoperability are:

  • planning;
  • staffing;
  • shared services (mission support);
  • equipment;
  • command systems and information sharing;
  • third state participation and cooperation;
  • review systems.

A review of interoperability challenges within CSDP crisis management operations leads to the observation that although substantial work has been done and is ongoing to address them, there are still challenges left. In such a context, closer integration of various stages of civilian and military crisis management (e.g. planning, equipment procurement, logistics, information sharing, etc.) makes sense. Military operations for example can benefit from civilian component in terms of civilian expertise (e.g. rule of law, civilian policing, etc.), building the dialogue with civil society and access to funding instruments for capacity building projects and development, to list just some of the reasons that go beyond the military oriented CIMIC  concept. On the other hand, civilian missions can also benefit from closer integration with military elements (e.g. through provisions of security, logistics, strategic planning, etc.). Integration can thus support both civilian and military actors in achieving their objectives. Integrated approach also makes sense from the perspective of pooling and sharing of equipment between the civilian and military and potential for further exploration of dual use capabilities.

However, there are still several significant obstacles or limitations, both on strategic/political and operational level that need to be addressed if the EU wishes to pursue a more integrated approach to security. One of the first limitations lies in different financial instruments  that are used for financing civilian and military CSDP missions.  Furthermore while significant progress was achieved in bringing together civilian and military planning (e.g. by establishing CMPD), the planning and command aspects of CSDP still seem to represent an important limitation for possible integrated missions. This is visible both on strategic planning and operational level (e.g. the issue of whether the possible integrated mission should be led by civilian or military commander ). Obstacles for integrated chain of command face both institutional challenges on the level of EU (e.g. “stove pipe approach”) and barriers on EU Member States level (e.g. constitutions of some states do not allow deployment of civilian staff in operations under military command).

IECEU report identified potential points that could benefit from additional work. The relevance of investing in enhancing interoperability is not entirely theoretical, as the findings from the case studies show that interoperability challenges do affect the efficiency and effectiveness of crisis management operations. In addition, as for civilian-military interoperability, future integrated/hybrid/joint missions are increasing in relevance, with the dissolution of traditional borders between civilian and military threats. A cooperative civil-military response to new security environment can mirror these challenges by adapted and integrated crisis management approaches.

1)      Interoperability potential: Reinforce the jointly initiated crisis management concept with a more integrated, structured civilian/military operationalisation.

2)      Interoperability potential: Discourage national (re)interpretation of the ‘Statement of recruitment’ used in CSDP military operations

3)      Interoperability potential: Further develop a centralised/harmonized system of standardized pre-deployment training, linked to job descriptions

4)      Interoperability potential: Support joint civilian-military in-mission training where possible

5)      Interoperability potential: Aim to harmonize “working” versions of key concepts

6)      Interoperability potential: Create mechanisms to create and enforce institutional memory; Through training; Through standardized or near-standardized tools and ways of working;Through creating mechanisms for frequent, brief, and focused updates and hand-over notes

7)      Interoperability potential: Develop common standards for civilian and military shared services

8)      Interoperability potential: Develop a common warehouse for military operations and consider to building synergies with the existing civilian warehouse

9)      Interoperability potential: Develop an integrated comprehensive CSDP CIS architecture

10)   Interoperability potential: Further develop a CSDP specific military command and control (C2) that caters both for synergies with the civilian C2 systems in use and is compatible with NATO structures

11)   Interoperability potential: Strengthen the EDA’s role in developing cyberdefence for CSDP crisis management operations and invest in building synergies with NATO

12)   Interoperability potential: Consider developing a CSDP concept for so called CNO’s, enhancing the common operational picture and interoperabilities in the field

13)   Interoperability potential: Consider developing a CSDP civilian-military intelligence analysis tools on top of existing information sharing tools

14)   Interoperability potential: Strengthen third party participation in CSDP crisis management operations by including them in the early planning stages and develop standard operating procedures that address doctrinal, procedural and technological differences/interoperability

15)   Interoperability potential: Continue working on a shared platform for lessons identified as it can build synergies and enhance the learning process of crisis management operations

16)   Interoperability potential: Continue sharing the information with external parties conducting research and external evaluations

Please familiarise yourself further with the Interoperability findings of IECEU –project