Conclusions

By Laird, Robbin F.; Mey, Holger H. | McNair Papers, April 1999 | Go to article overview

Conclusions


Laird, Robbin F., Mey, Holger H., McNair Papers


The RMA has emerged as a key concept in the restructuring of U.S. military power within the post-Cold War system. As such, key allies of the United States need to come to terms with American approaches and programs in shaping their own responses to the post-Cold War security system.

For Western Europeans, the end of the Cold War has carried with it a new phase in the building of Europe. At the same time, the Western European model of development is challenged by the American economy and by broader globalization processes. The RMA is part of a much broader American challenge to Europe; a European variant of the RMA will be a subset of a broader process of economic, cultural, and organizational change in the decade ahead.

The consensus within Western Europe upon the need to build more flexible, mobile, power-projection forces has not been carried forward to date into a clear force structure model. Indeed, the RMA process and the American approach, or rather the military services' various responses to the RMA, are key influences upon any European RMA model(s).

For the French, the model of an autonomous European defense identity guiding a future European force structure is undercut by the continuing influence and power of the United States. Indeed, as Europe responds to globalization, a purely European defense identity seems further rather than closer to realization.

A European RMA built around a European defense identity would be the classic French response to the American challenge. Rather than clearly rejecting this aspiration, the French may see a more flexible approach emerge in practice--some European defense consolidation, some transatlantic defense consolidation, new approaches to NATO power projection, new operational approaches among key member states of NATO toward power projection, and the blending of the new professional French Army with allied approaches to operations and force structure development.

A mixed model of European consolidation and participation in American innovations in the military sector will drive Europe toward a variant of tile RMA. A European RMA will emphasize regional power projection in close proximity to EU territory--the Baltic for the Germans, the Western Mediterranean for the French. Innovations in specific technologies--notably information, precision strike, and sensor technologies---can be drawn upon in the process of innovation.

But the need to put together a bargain between Europe and the United States in approaches toward regional security will remain important to shaping the future; here, Germany, like Britain, plays a key role. The Germans wish to work within an interallied setting with the United States. NATO remains pivotal for Germany.

Nonetheless, for Germany to focus more attention upon its military contributions to European security, more consideration for German definitions and approaches toward security interests will be necessary. …

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