A Transformation Gap? American Innovations and European Military Change

A Transformation Gap? American Innovations and European Military Change

A Transformation Gap? American Innovations and European Military Change

A Transformation Gap? American Innovations and European Military Change

Synopsis

NATO member states are all undergoing some form of military transformation. Despite a shared vision, transformation has been primarily a US-led process centered on the exploitation of new information technologies in combination with new concepts for "networked organizations" and "effects-based operations." Simply put, European states have been unable to match the level of US investment in new military technologies, leading to the identification of a growing "transformation gap" between the US and the European allies.

This book assesses the extent and trajectory of military transformation across a range of European NATO member states, setting their transformation progress against that of the US, and examining the complex mix of factors driving military transformation in each country. It reveals not only the nature and extent of the transatlantic gap, but also identifies an enormous variation in the extent and pace of transformation among the European allies, suggesting both technological and operational gaps within Europe.

Excerpt

Theo Farrell and Terry Terriff

Across the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), member states are undergoing military transformation. For new member states from the former Eastern bloc, there has been transformation with the introduction of democratically controlled military organizations. Some existing member states have also been transforming their militaries to phase out conscription and move toward all-volunteer professional forces. On top of these de facto transformations in military professionalism across Europe, nato undertook a commitment at the 2002 Prague Summit, to transform its capabilities for, and approach to, military operations, and to lead that effort a specifc nato command was created, Allied Command Transformation (ACT).

Notwithstanding the establishment of act, military transformation has been a US-led process centered on the exploitation of new information technologies in combination with new concepts for “networked organizations” and “effects-based operations” (EBO). European states have simply been unable to match the level of us investment in new military technologies, and so for some time critics have warned of a growing “transformation gap” between the United States and the European allies. in recent years, this process of developing transformational technologies and concepts for war has been reoriented toward tackling counterinsurgency (COIN) and stability operations. Here, the experience (especially from colonial times) of states such as Britain and France gives some European militaries a possible transformation advantage over the big war orientated us military.

This study assesses the extent and trajectory of military transformation across a range of European nato member states. It considers cases of the ma-

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