Technological innovations are present in many civil sectors, with the military being no exception, making processes faster and more efficient. New technologies, which can include unmanned systems, Additive Manufacturing (AM), Artificial Intelligence (AI) or even 5G, are changing warfare and its logistics tail, which is the amount of personnel and material needed to supply and support, at the same time. The introduction of these improvements is essential for the development of military capabilities and operations, as well as for improving defence logistics by enhancing accuracy, intelligence and resources while reducing costs and risks in multiple areas (Institute for Defence & Business, 2022). This Info Flash aims to analyse and provide examples of how new technologies can shape the future of logistics in the military, especially for the European Armed Forces.
The European Union aims to strengthen its security and defence capabilities in an increasingly contested strategic environment. Recent initiatives have pursued deeper military cooperation and integration among the European member States, but also the development of the EU’s platforms and programmes - including in the area of Command and Control (C2). Whereas CSDP missions and operations tended to rely on ad hoc, temporary C2 solutions chosen from an array of designated Command Options, in recent years the EU has taken steps towards their centralisation by creating the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC). Today, the MPCC exercises C2 over all non-executive CSDP missions and may also exercise C2 over one executive CSDP mission, albeit limited to the Battlegroup size. Although they allow for greater flexibility to adapt to every specific crisis, the EU’s current C2 architecture suffers from inefficiencies that may hinder its crisis response capabilities in its new strategic environment. This paper contends that creating a standing, permanent C2 structure for all CSDP missions and operations would allow the EU to better achieve its strategic goals.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are a collection of 17 elements composed of cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium, and yttrium. These elements are highly valued for their “conductive and magnetic properties” (Chang 2022). REEs are of vital importance to high-tech devices and their ability to function, including computer hard drives, telephones, televisions, and hybrid or electronic vehicles. Furthermore, rare earth metals (REM) are heavily used in the defence industry to integrate electronic displays, sonar, laser, and guiding systems into modern weaponry. Therefore, REM quickly became a strategic component for the defence industry’s supply chains, and, at the same time, embodied a geopolitical challenge to secure countries’ strategic autonomy regarding these precious materials. When looking at the main global suppliers of REEs, China finds itself in the first position, controlling around 80% of REE production (Kelemen & Stonor 2022). The recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait re-introduced the reality of Western REE dependency on China to the agenda. Washington finds itself in a difficult position regarding its industry’s reliance on China’s REEs. Therefore, Beijing’s dominance over such a strategic resource seriously undermines the West’s ability to impose economic sanctions on China. In the scenario of a confrontation between Washington and Beijing, China could decide to cut its REE supply to the US, which as a consequence could exhaust its stocks in “less than 90 days” (Kelemen & Stonor 2022).
The Black Sea is a strategic trade and transportation artery which connects Europe and Asia (NSC, 2022). The countries surrounding the coasts of the Black Sea are EU and NATO members (Romania and Bulgaria), former members of the Soviet Union (Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia) and Middle Eastern powers (Turkey). After the Cold War, the lack of agreement between Russia and the West on the power-sharing in the region and the disintegration of the Soviet Union caused a series of conflicts, which are still ongoing. Recently, Russia and Ukraine have built up their military power in the region, and NATO has stationed additional forces in Romania to enhance the Alliance's defence strategy (Miller, 2017). The Black Sea is, therefore more militarised and less stable than at any point since the end of the Cold War. Tensions and instability in this key region can seriously affect global commercial trade and maritime activities.
This paper will analyse how weather conditions impact amphibious planning and the conduct of military operations. More precisely, this paper will scrutinize the different components of the broader concept of weather, assessing the impact that these components can have on amphibious warfare. To write this Info Flash, mainly sources coming from the US Marine Corps were taken into consideration, since they regularly publish analyses and studies. However, analysing the American doctrine regarding amphibious operations makes it possible to make similar considerations for the NATO doctrine, since the Alliance’s doctrines are considerably influenced by the US despite not being public knowledge.