September 29, 2004


Europe's armies 'still in cold war' warns EU arms chief (Richard Carter, 29.09.2004, EU Observer)

European armies have not adapted to modern warfare and need better technology, the head of the EU's arms agency has warned.

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, Nick Witney, head of the European Defence Agency agency created in June this year to strengthen the EU's military capabilities, said, "European armies are not adapted to the modern world, to its conflicts, to its new threats. On the whole, they are still in the cold war period".

Rather than focusing on tanks, European armies need more high-tech equipment, such as effective communication tools and analytical equipment, urged Mr Witney.

Closing the gap with the US in terms of arms technology is not about spending more, but spending more efficiently, he said.

Mr Witney also called for greater liberalisation of the European armaments market if EU firms are to compete with their US rivals.

Describing himself as "very much in favour" of market liberalisation, Mr Witney said, "defence markets are essentially national at the moment, with significant state aid in many countries. But no member state has the means to keep its industries alive like this".

Okay, so they concede they won't spend what they need to but do they really think they'll spend more efficiently as they get more institutionalized and bureaucratic?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2004 10:33 AM

The quality of a military depends on the culture of the society it is intended to serve. To think that western european culture can today support the moral, intellectual, and physical requirements for a military adequate to the contemporary challenge is absurdity cubed.

Posted by: luciferous at September 29, 2004 2:05 PM

I don't know why.

Orrin contends the era of mass armies is over. He may be right. It's over in Europe, anyway.

European military technology is very good at what it is very good at -- as good as ours.

It's true, though, that none of Europe's nations, being smaller than us, is able to be good in as many different sectors as the U.S. is.

A lot of our military technology is way behind theirs. Even way behind the USSR's, and it's been dead over 10 years.

Personal infantry weapons, for example. There's a reason that gangs around the world do not brandish M-16s.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 29, 2004 5:23 PM

The primary reason that gangs around the world brandish AK-47s is because they're a lot cheaper and easier to get than M-16s.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 30, 2004 5:58 AM

The AK-47 is cheaper and easier to maintain too.

There are still going to be brushfires to deal with in the future. If we decide as a civilization to intervene in tribal warfare in strange places, we will need people in uniforms carrying weapons on the ground in order to do so. Europe, is as we say in Brooklyn 'writing checks with its alligator mouth that its hummingbird ass can't cash.'

Posted by: Bart at September 30, 2004 8:27 AM

That means it's better, right?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 30, 2004 4:33 PM

In the way a VW Bug is better than a BMW

Posted by: oj at September 30, 2004 6:20 PM