STRATEGIC AUTONOMY AND THE EUROPEAN UNION’S PERMANENT STRUCTURED COOPERATION
Yost, David S.
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Is the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) providing a coherent and comprehensive effort to achieve “strategic autonomy” in military capabilities or is it just a collection of miscellaneous initiatives under one umbrella? Is PESCO likely to pursue only temporary political results or does it manifest the potential to overturn the transatlantic order? This thesis approaches these research questions from three perspectives: the political, the operational, and the inventorial. It analyzes official statements about PESCO for the political side, reports from field missions for the operational side, and the arsenals of PESCO participants for the inventorial aspects. PESCO participants support only a limited European strategic autonomy, relying on NATO for collective defense. PESCO addresses several operational shortfalls, but not the most important ones: air lift and air refueling. PESCO contains several projects for replacing non-EU capabilities, mostly land systems. PESCO participants will remain dependent on outside sources for air systems, partly because PESCO does not contribute to closing the technological gap with American companies. In summary, PESCO does not provide European strategic autonomy but contributes to improving the military capabilities of its participants. Given the current situation, even this represents progress.
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