On November 14, the 27 EU Ministers of Defence approved the 2023 EU Capability Development Priorities (EDA, 2023). This constitutes the fourth revision of the Capability Development Plan (CDP). Earlier versions were drafted in 2008, 2014 and 2018 (Defence Talk, 2008; EDA, 2014, 2018). The CDP is a tool to periodically assess Member States’ military capabilities and inform them on priorities and opportunities for cooperation in capability development (EDA, n.d.).
The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) has been one of the cornerstones of European security for the last thirty years. Negotiated during the twilight years of the Cold War, and signed on 19 November 1990, it was a landmark security treaty. The CFE entered into force on 13 July 1992 and aimed to limit the number of conventional arms—battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters—of State Parties (Art 4(1) CFE, 1990). The Treaty was particularly important as it addressed the core dilemmas of the security context of the time; although the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the context was very much dominated by bloc tensions between the Warsaw Pact states and NATO (Witkowsky et al., 2010). At the time it entered into force, it “adapted to the changes that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall and contributed predictability and transparency in military forces as Europe was transforming throughout the 1990s” (Witkowsky et al., 2010).
On October 22, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States (US) navies completed the anti-submarine exercise called ‘Silent Shark’ in the waters of Guam. Since 2007, Silent Shark has been conducted biennially. The live-training exercise involved the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN-754) and the diesel-electric submarine ROKS Jung Ji (SS-073), along with maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from the US Navy’s Squadron 8 and the ROK’s Navy Squadron 611.
The commitment of Prime Minister Meloni to military spending became tangible after the Defence Ministry released, with an unusual delay of six months, its budget projections for 2023-2025. Integrated expenditures for defence are set to reach an all-time high of €31.4 billion in 2025, a €2 billion increase from 2022. Italian expenses for procurement are expected to rise by 43% in the next two years, with €4.6 billion allocated to thirteen new military programmes.
On October 9, the Council of the EU adopted a regulation establishing an instrument that further paves the way for the entry into force of the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through Common Procurement Act (EDIRPA). This new instrument involves a €300 million budget that provides partial reimbursement to Member States jointly purchasing capabilities through consortia of at least three Members. Further conditions are set out for EDIRPA. Contractors and subcontractors must be established and must have their executive management structure in the EU or in an associated country. Moreover, at least 65 percent of the end products’ components must originate from the EU or an associated country.