Written by Manel Bernadó Arjona
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.