European Command and Control Capabilities in Executive CSDP Missions and Operations

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.

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Unpacking Female Representation in the Military

The involvement of women in the army con- stitutes a thorny issue in several countries where women are found in the margin com- pared to male combatants and there are sever- al nuances to the topic which will endeavour to highlight. In the same context, this paper will attempt to delineate the current situa- tion as well as explore the current initiatives taken in order to ameliorate the issues. Fur- thermore, it is essential to underline any gaps which account for an obstacle in the develop- ment of this situations. Firstly, we will reflect on the current state of art whilst we will introduce a theoretical framework to contextualise how the literature approaches the bipartition “women combatants or women civilians”. In order to have a more complete image of the situation, it is essential to utilize and compare statistical data. These data not only reflect the current circumstances but also identify what has already been done while underlying any existing gaps. The data used here can be found in the 2019 NATO The Annual Summary of the National Reports where all NATO mem- ber states submitted their national data. Fur- thermore, such National Reports are of signif- icant importance due to their comprehensive analysis of the situation for both women and men in the armed forces. Lastly, we will discuss the gaps as well as the opportunities aiming to integrate women thoroughly in the army.

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Reasons Behind the European Union’s Inadequacy to Create a European Army

This paper will shed light on the historical evolution of the conceptualization of a European Army, and will then analyse institutions and policies in place, as well as ways in which NATO and the EU can cooperate in the defence sector. Finally, the obstacles to the creation of a European Army are assessed against the backdrop of the current Russian war with Ukraine and the recent adoption of the EU Strategic Compass.

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Rare Earth Metals and F-35 Supply Chain

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).

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Promises Made are Not Promises Kept: Pledged and Delivered Supplies to Ukraine

Since February 24, 2022, the first day of Russian aggression against Ukraine, European countries across the continent have devoted themselves to being faithful allies of Ukraine. Some countries pledged significant financial aid, many donated necessary weapons, and nearly all have drafted sanctions against Russia. However, as war rages on in Ukraine it has all but left the front pages of newspapers in Europe in favour of the recent energy crisis, public tensions between the German and French heads of state, and the sudden resignation of Liz Truss. As a result, many civilians risk losing sight of the ongoing events in Ukraine despite their intensifying nature. Simultaneously, European countries have made fewer pledges of support and delivered less on their promises than they did at the start of the war (Ukraine Support Tracker - a Database of Military, Financial and Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine, 3/10/22). This report presents the recent forms of support that European countries have successfully delivered to Ukraine and the pledged support to create a conclusive summary of European military aid to Ukraine in the month of October. For full transparency, this article was finalised on November 3, 2022.

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