Enders: “Smart Defense initiative is not much different from ideas floated 20 years ago”

NATO‘s effort to convince members to maximize their limited defense spending by doing more together may not yield many concrete results, a senior European aerospace and defense industry official warns.
The so-called “Smart Defense initiative is not much different from ideas floated 20 years ago,” and “very little has happened since then,” warns Airbus CEO and EADS CEO-designate Tom Enders.
Speaking Feb. 4 at the annual Munich Security Conference, Enders worries that a prolonged period of defense budget pressures in Europe, sovereignty concerns and divergent security interests mean “the possibility for pooling and sharing will be limited.”
NATO hopes to gain significant momentum for its Smart Defense push at the May summit in Chicago of leaders of member states.
French Gen. Stephene Abrial, NATO‘s supreme allied commander for transformation, says at least 20 projects will be proposed for cooperation. The summit needs to deliver “a strong political commitment” to the concept, he says.
U.K. Defense Minister Philip Hammond notes, though, that early steps in this direction should focus on areas such as training to gain confidence among parties to work together. Only then can the pooling and sharing construct shift to operational domains, he argues.
Enders also expresses concern about a sustained “brain drain” from defense, with students pursuing careers in finance and other sectors.

By Robert Wall Aviationweek.com

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