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Rapidly Deployable European Land Forces

Rapidly Deployable European Land Forces

Recommendation 742 on rapidly deployable European land forces - reply to the annual report of the Council. Report (Document A/1857) submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee by Mr Kucheida, Rapporteur (France, Socialist Group). Source: WEU, Paris, June 2, 2004.

      The Assembly,

  1. Taking note of the information on the implementation of the Capability Development Mechanism (CDM) and the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP) contained in the second part of the 49th annual report of the Council;

  2. Recalling the terms of the European Council's Helsinki Declaration (1999) in which it underlines "its determination to develop an autonomous capacity to take decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises";

  3. Noting that the provisions on structured cooperation in the draft EU Constitutional Treaty should faciliate the deployment of armed forces in the event of a crisis;

  4. Stressing the resolve of the EU member states to acquire the necessary military capabilities to meet the headline goal, which means being able to deploy at 60 days' notice for a minimum period of one year 50 000 to 60 000-strong troops capable of conducting the full range of Petersberg missions, including those set out in the draft Constitutional Treaty, in particular for the fight against terrorism;

  5. Recalling the decision of the NATO member states to set up the 21 000-strong NATO Response Force (NRF) capable of taking action outside NATO's traditional area of intervention;

  6. Noting that wars are won on the ground with sufficient numbers of troops to create the security conditions that are necessary for peace;

  7. Aware of the essential role of land forces for the various aspects of peacemaking and peacekeeping missions: combat, assistance, intelligence and continuous control over the theatre of operations;

  8. Noting the need for a chain of command that can be deployed to remote theatres and that has the necessary interoperability to coordinate units from the different nations;

  9. Stressing the importance of logistic support for maintaining land forces in remote theatres for long periods of time;

  10. Noting that reserve forces can play a considerable part in deployed forces by providing skills that are specific to civil society, but aware of the specific problems involved in the use of reservists;

  11. Welcoming the success of the recent interventions by European land forces deployed for EU-led peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Operation Concordia) and the Congo (Operation Artemis);

  12. Noting that European troops are fully engaged in the NATO operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan;

  13. Stressing the existence of strong European cooperation in the field of land forces, for example in the framework of the Franco-German Brigade, the European Corps, Eurofor and Finabel;

  14. Welcoming the recent cooperation established within the European Union under the headline goal and European Capability Action Plan (ECAP),

RECOMMENDS that the Council

  1. Continue in its annual report to provide the Assembly with information on the European Union's and NATO's new crisis-management capability goals for 2010, paying particular attention to the development of rapidly deployable land forces;

  2. Invite the WEU countries to:

    a. Participate actively in the European land forces' cooperation that is organised through the meetings of the European chiefs of army staff (Finabel) and the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP);

    b. Ensure that in the context of further specialisation and rationalisation their defence budgets are sufficient to equip and train their land forces for Petersberg missions that may be assigned to them under the headline goal, in particular for militarily self-sustaining long-duration operations in remote theatres;

    c. Equip their forces with automated command and rapid communications systems, making use in particular of satellite-based communications in order to facilitate interoperability and the link-up with international command systems;

    d. Ensure that deployable land forces have the requisite logistic support, in particular as regards airlift, to enable them to be deployed rapidly for long periods of time to very remote theatres such as Afghanistan;

    e. Set up in their respective countries a system of reserve forces, in particular by creating databases indicating the civilian qualifications of personnel and by reaching agreements with their employers, allowing them to be released for operations in external theatres;

  3. Insist that these recommendations be taken into account in the draft Constitution.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).