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Press Release: Brussels (14-03-2000) - Nr: 6756/00

 Preparatory document related to CESDP : 


Subject : Process for the elaboration of the headline and capability goals

The European Council agreed in Helsinki that "The General Affairs Council, with the participation of Defence Ministers, will elaborate the headline and capability goals. It will develop a method of consultation through which these goals can be met and maintained, and through which national contributions reflecting Member States' political will and commitment towards these goals can be defined by each Member State, with a regular review of progress made. In addition, Member States would use existing defence planning procedures, including, as appropriate, those available in NATO and the Planning and Review Process (PARP) of the PfP. These objectives and those arising, for those countries concerned, from NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI) will be mutually reinforcing."
At its meeting of 14 March 2000 in iPSC formation, the POCO agreed to recommend to the Council that it should conclude that the attached "food for thought" paper on the "Elaboration of the headline goal", including the timetable set out therein leading to a Capabilities Pledging Conference to be convened by the end of 2000, should constitute a basis for future work to be conducted by the competent bodies. 


The European Council, meeting on 10-11 December 1999, agreed that "by the year 2003, cooperating together voluntarily, [Member States] will be able to deploy rapidly and then sustain forces capable of the full range of Petersberg tasks as set out in the Amsterdam Treaty, including the most demanding, in operations up to corps level (up to 15 brigades or 50,000-60,000 persons). These forces should be militarily self-sustaining with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support services and additionally, as appropriate, air and naval elements. Member States should be able to deploy in full at this level within 60 days, and within this to provide smaller rapid response elements available and deployable at very high readiness. They must be able to sustain such a deployment for at least one year. This will require an additional pool of deployable units (and supporting elements) at lower readiness to provide replacements for the initial forces.".

This Headline goal is intended as a spur towards the progressive improvement of Europe's military capabilities for crisis management operations. This process will take account of the results of the WEU audit of assets and capabilities. The resulting capabilities are intended to enable the conduct of effective EU-led operations, whether or not the EU has recourse to NATO assets and capabilities as well as being a full contribution to NATO-led operations and, for those involved, in NATO. The European Council invited the General Affairs Council to elaborate this goal, and other, collective capability goals, with the participation of Defence Ministers. The GAC will also develop a method for meeting, maintaining and reviewing these goals and through which national contributions will be defined. In addition, Member States will use existing defence planning procedures including, as appropriate, those available in NATO and the Planning and Review Process (PARP) of the PfP. In the first instance it is necessary to identify in detail the forces and capabilities required from Member States collectively in order to achieve the headline goal. This paper focuses on this first task. A section on further work is included at the end.

The headline goal expressed at Helsinki represents a political commitment by the Member States. It includes insufficient detail for the purposes of military planning, raising questions such as where EU-led task forces might be expected to operate, with whom, and how often. Some of the key figures in the headline goal (e.g. 60 days) are also open to interpretation. The elaboration of the headline goal should follow a systematic approach. This will provide a clear link between the policy context of the CFSP, the broad statement of the headline goal and the detailed listing of capabilities and force elements necessary to deliver the goal. The key steps are set out below. In particular, agreement on the first three steps is needed before progress can be made on the later steps of the process.

Step 1 An outline of the overall strategic context.
Step 2 Articulation of key planning assumptions.
Step 3 Selection of planning scenarios that describe illustrative situations for the employment of forces.
Step 4 Identification of the force capabilities required to support the scenarios.
Step 5 Development of illustrative force packages that have the required capabilities and confirmation of their effectiveness against the planning scenarios.
Step 6 Using these different force packages to define the full range of requirements implicit in the headline goal.

We will, once the headline goal is elaborated in this way, need to consider the question of national contributions to it, and to identify "capability gaps" by comparing the elaborated goal against these. Consideration of how these tasks will be undertaken is beyond the scope of this paper (but see the section on further work below).

Step 1. Strategic Context
In today's strategic environment, we face new risks such as ethnic and religious conflict, inter-and intra-state competition for scarce resources, environmental damage, population shifts. Europe needs to be able to manage and respond to these, including by intervening to prevent crises escalating into conflicts. This may require operations across the full Petersberg 

- Humanitarian and rescue tasks; 
- peacekeeping task; and,
- tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking (referred to as peace enforcement by some nations).

While these operations are likely to be smaller than those envisaged during the Cold War, they will often be more demanding in other ways. Rapid deployment at short notice to crisis regions will be essential to deter or contain conflict. Armed forces may have to operate in areas where the supporting infrastructure is limited, and sustain concurrent operations for long periods. Operations will frequently be conducted under the constant gaze of the world's media. We can increasingly expect adversaries - armed with sophisticated, commercially available military technology, able to extensively adapt technologies developed for civil application and some with access to weapons of mass destruction -to employ asymmetric approaches to disrupt our capabilities. We also expect that there will be increased emphasis on minimising casualties (own forces, opposing forces and civilian) and restricting collateral and environmental damage.

Elaboration of the headline goal will need to devote particular attention to the capabilities necessary to ensure effective performance in crisis management in the context of this security environment: deployability, sustainability, interoperability, flexibility, mobility, survivability and command and control. These objectives of capability improvement and those arising, for those countries concerned, from NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative, will be mutually reinforcing.

Step 2. Key Planning Assumptions
We should make the following assumptions for the purpose of further planning:

  1. Target date. The headline goal is to be met if possible by June 2003 (and by December 2003 at the latest). 
  2. Geographical area. We should plan on the basis that within the agreed range of missions, the most demanding will occur in and around Europe. Forces should also be available and able to respond to crises world wide, albeit at lesser scale. 
  3. Contributions. The headline goal is a policy and planning commitment for the EU Member States. The scale and nature of national contributions cannot be fully addressed until the overall requirement is clearer. Additional contributions to the overall improvement of European military capabilities will be invited from European NATO members who are not EU Member States and other countries who are candidates for accession to the European Union. We would expect other European nations to participate in specific EU-led operations. 
  4. Scale of Effort. We should assume that the most demanding mission will be a complex peace enforcement task in a joint environment in or around Europe. In order to be able to undertake this task as well as the rest of the full range of Petersberg missions, the EU will require access to a ready pool of various types of combat brigades, plus the necessary combat support and combat service support elements and additionally appropriate maritime and air elements. It is the size of this pool that will be defined by the scenario-based planning. This pool can be regarded as the source from which an appropriate force package could be constructed, depending on circumstances, of up to 50,000 - 60,000 troops. Within any overall figure the proportion of combat troops to support troops will vary according to the operational task. The assembled force should be militarily self-sustaining, with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support and appropriate maritime and air elements. We should ensure that the forces and capabilities required to meet the most demanding mission as defined above will also be able to undertake a range of smaller-scale or less combat-oriented contingencies, against agreed concurrency criteria. 
  5. Concurrency. We should plan to be able to conduct a single corps sized crisis management task, while retaining a limited capability to conduct a small-scale operation, such as a NEO. Alternatively, within the overall total of the headline Goal, we should be prepared to maintain one longer term operation at less than the maximum level and at the same time be able to conduct another operation of a limited duration. It may be that this requirement will pose the most demanding challenge for the EU member states, given the competing demands for key assets. It is also assumed that the EU-led corps-size operation referred to in the headline goal is not additional to the concurrency assumptions in NATO Ministerial Guidance 98. The implications of the other concurrency assumptions listed above will need to be analysed in connection with the further development of NATO Ministerial Guidance 2000. 
  6. Endurance. We should plan to sustain a deployment of corps size, able to undertake the most demanding mission, for at least one year. Our initial assumption is that national commitments of forces and capabilities, once defined, will include a commitment to provide those elements for at least a year. This will require an additional pool of deployable forces to provide replacements for the initial ready force. (We note that in practice both the size of the force and the capabilities required might reduce as normality returned, within or beyond this initial period). 
  7. Readiness. We should plan for forces to be held at graduated readiness, sufficient to deploy in full at corps level within 60 days, from a Council decision on the forces required (equivalent to NATO ACTORD/WEU Force Creation Message) to the point when all forces are fully trained and deployed in a theatre of operations, in or around Europe, with Transfer of  

  8. Authority to the Operation Commander completed. Within this limit we should plan to provide a smaller rapid response element of immediate reaction forces at very high readiness, particularly of entry and other enabling forces; the scale and nature of such forces will depend on the particular circumstances of an operation. Guidelines will be established as part of further work.
  9. Sustainability. We should plan to deploy forces with sufficient holdings to conduct operations until their re-supply has been established (within 10 days for air supply and 28 days for sea supply). We should then be able to sustain the forces deployed, up to 60,000 troops, for a period of at least 12 months. 
Step 3. Planning Scenarios
We have expanded the requirements implicit in the headline goal by defining the key planning assumptions listed above. We now need to select illustrative scenarios against which capabilities and force packages designed to meet these requirements may be tested. The WEU has already generated a set of illustrative Petersberg mission profiles, including scenarios for European-led operations up to corps sized level. These scenarios will also cover maritime and air elements. This work should be built on for the purposes of elaborating the headline goal. At least initially we need to identify a small number of scenarios which would be representative of the range of different mission types the EU might conduct.

The elaboration of the headline goal called for by the European Council at Helsinki is a complex task. To achieve the aim, Member States should first:

  1. agree a systematic methodology as described in this paper in order to establish a sound planning basis for ongoing work (para 3); 
  2. agree a broad outline of strategic context and force characteristics (paras 5-7); 
  3. agree key planning assumptions (para 8); 
  4. make use of the illustrative mission profiles for Petersberg Missions and associated scenarios agreed by the WEU (Reference WEU C(96)267 of 24 September 1996) (para 9);  

  5. in order to:
  6. identify capability requirements and develop illustrative force packages; 
  7. produce a comprehensive statement of the pool of forces and capabilities collectively required to conduct Petersberg Missions up to the scale of the headline goal. 
Further Work
If the conclusions above are agreed, the following further work will need to be urgently prepared:
  1. a. detailed force modelling by expert military Planners to generate proposals for the overall "headline goal" pool of forces and capabilities;
  2. analysis of this pool in comparison with existing Member States' capabilities and the development of a method for the identification of key shortfalls and for definition of national contributions; 
  3. a method for inviting no-EU Allies to identify additional contributions (as called for at Helsinki); 
  4. definition of a system for providing regular review and incentives for Member States' progress towards the headline goal; 
  5. a timetable for the conduct of this further work. 

It will be essential for all of this further work to be closely co-ordinated with existing NATO and PfP planning processes, since the forces involved are also being developed and held available for NATO, or NATO-led, operations.