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Smart Sharing

Smart Sharing

Since 2008, the world economy has been facing its worst period since the end of the Second World War. Rebalancing defence spending between the European nations and the United States is more than ever a necessity. (Andy Dean)

“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:

  • NATO and the European Union, in particular the European Defence Agency, should continue working together to avoid needless duplication with the pooling and sharing initiative. Concrete opportunities for cooperation have already been identified. Combating improvised explosive devices, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and medical support are recognized as common threats;
  • European capability improvement should be facilitated by addressing Europe’s defense capability shortfalls. European Defense Agency should continue its efforts to bring together at the European level capability planning, research and technology, armaments co-operation, and a stronger defense industry;
  • A stronger and more integrated European defense technological and industrial base should be developed further. Europe has to transatlantic defense relations on a sounder and more equitable ground;
  • Concrete measures should be put on the table aimed at fostering the defence industrial cooperation, efficiencies, competitiveness and innovation.

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.

[1] “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.



Hristiana Grozdanova

Hristiana Grozdanova is EU foreign policy adviser. She also worked for the Prime Minister’s Office in Bulgaria as an expert responsible for monitoring the decision-making process and implementation of EU law in the internal market. She has also worked in the Cabinet of the EU commissioner for consumer protection. Hristiana is the author of numerous articles and brochures on EU citizens’ rights and instruments for their protection. For her work solving the problems caused by the misapplication of EU law, she was awarded with the title of “SOLVIT Goodwill Ambassador.”
She is a member of the NATO Young Atlanticist Working Group at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, a program bringing together 90 top emerging global leaders in foreign and security policy.
All opinions in this blog are personal.