Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

NATO SeaSparrow Program: Cooperation Based on Trust

Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

NATO SeaSparrow Program: Cooperation Based on Trust

Article excerpt


The purpose of this article is to analyze NATO's program for the development and production of ship-launched short-range missiles serving the direct defence of naval vessels, known as the NATO SeaSparrow Surface Missile System (NSSMS), in terms of the mechanisms that have allowed it to function for more than 45 years, involving twelve member nations.

The author of this paper will also attempt to identify the so-called "good practice," on which international cooperation programs in the development and production of weapons could be based, especially in the context of the concept of "Smart Defense." The production and procurement of weapons, and thus technical upgrading of the armed forces, is of interest to both civilian and military communities. The discussion comes alive especially at the time of procurement (or just an intent) of expensive military equipment. Words of opposition and disapproval of the high cost of arms borne by the taxpayer often come in times of relative peace and subjectively perceived security. However, when the relations between countries are strained and continuation of their cooperation is called into question, the public looks much more favorably at dollars spent on the armed forces.

Regardless of changing public opinion, one can assume it is correct to claim that, both now and in the future, states will continue to invest in defense, primarily in order to ensure the achievement of their own goals and national-and allied-interests. An old Latin adage, "Si vis pacem para bellum," which can be interpreted as no one attacks the strong, is fitting here. The main challenge of shaping the future demand for weapons is the nature of the foreseeable risks. It is necessary, therefore, to develop the technology to deter and/or to combat and defeat these threats.

According to a report prepared by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) the transfer of defense technologies in 2009-2013 was about 14% higher than in 2004-2008.1 In line with the ongoing trend for several years, most European countries have gradually reduced defense spending. Significant restrictions have also been noticed in the American defense budget. The primary factors affecting the size and nature of the production of weapons include:

* A significant reduction of defense spending, as well as deference of the implementation of armaments' long-term acquisition and modernization programs in Europe and the United States in connection with the financial crisis; but it is worth noting that the difficulty of maintaining high spending on armaments is nothing new, especially in democratic countries where the authorities have to reckon with the opinions of voters.

* A decrease in the demand for massive equipment in the absence of prospects for military conflict on a large scale, although there is more and more talk about the need to revise the forecasts of the security environment, especially in the context of the situation in Ukraine.

* An increased demand for raising the efficiency of the technology, interoperability, situational awareness, and precision in asymmetric conflicts.

* Shortening the time of the development cycle for equipment through the introduction of "single-purpose" technology in place of complex and expensive technologies requiring long years of research.2

Taking into account the need to ensure effective defense of national and Allied interests with a simultaneous decrease in defense spending, NATO members have undertaken an initiative to prevent the negative effects of the occurring trends. "Smart Defense" is an initiative involving the development, acquisition, and maintenance of the ability of Allied forces on the basis of cooperation between member states. It is a consequence of the financial crisis of recent years, which has caused significant cuts in defense spending, thereby aggravating the disparities in defense investments between Europe and the United States. …

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