“We talk about smart defence as if we’d done stupid defense before. I’d like to believe we had smart defense all the time,” said one of our guest speakers during the Young Atlanticists Summit in Chicago couple of months ago. We were giggling awhile as for the first time we, as Young Atlanticists, received a direct answer to one very straightforward question “What is smart defense?’ We raised the topic on several occasions and received only vague answers about why we need smart defence to address 21st century challenges. Not about how we will achieve smart defence.
Understandably, the new dynamics of the security environment and the emerging challenges are putting additional pressures for re-evaluation developing, acquiring and maintaining military capabilities. Both the EU and the NATO are confident enough to preserve and enhance their operational capabilities with improved sustainability, interoperability and cost efficiency. However, the future of NATO crisis management depend on whether Europe finds the political will and the funding to take over far greater responsibility in future NATO operations commensurate with its political and economic strength. Enhancement of the multinational cooperation in capability building is a question of common interest for NATO and the EU.
A coherent partnership between NATO’s “Smart Defense” initiative and EU’s “Pooling and Sharing” initiative is of a crucial importance to address the challenges of the future. Some areas where particular attention is needed:
There is also a need for rebalancing the traditional burden sharing in crisis management. А “comprehensive approach” is needed to coordinate better the civilian and military crisis management activities. It needs to be done wisely, and in a coordinated manner in order to find common solutions to complex crisis. Enhancement of the multinational cooperation in capability building is a question of common interest for both NATO and the EU.
 “Smart Sharing” is a collaboration between the NATO “Smart Defence” initiative and “Pooling and Sharing” initiative.
Hristiana Grozdanova is a member of the Atlantic Council’s Young Atlanticist NATO Working Group.