Smart Defense in Europe
On Thursday, November 8th, CEPA led a roundtable discussion in cooperation with the CEVRO Institute in Prague. The conversation focused on the future of transatlantic security and cooperation. The event featured comments from Daniel Kostoval, Deputy Minister of Head of the Armaments and Acquisition Division in the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic, Martin Povejšil, Deputy Minister of Security and Multilateral Affairs at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, General Petr Pavel, former Chief of General Staff (2012-2015) and former Chairman of NATO Military Committee (2015-2018), Jan Havránek, Policy Advisor in the Policy Planning Unit of the Office of the Secretary General of NATO, Alexandr Vondra, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations of the CEVRO Institute, and LTG (ret.) Ben Hodges, Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at CEPA. The discussion was moderated by CEPA President Peter B. Doran.
There are two ways to modernize a military—strategic and ad hoc. The first one is far smarter than the second. During the summer of 2018, the Czech Republic announced its largest military modernization program since being under the control of the Soviet Union. With this plan, the Czech Armed Forces aim to eliminate old, Soviet era hardware in favor of modern technology that uphold NATO standards. This is a significant step toward interoperability between allies. But what are the most efficient choices allies can make to meet the needs of both today and tomorrow? As members increase their defense investments, how can leaders ensure that the choices they make will field the kind of interoperable capabilities that allies like the United States and the Czech Republic will need in the future?
This high-level, closed-door strategic dialogue between a select group of transatlantic policymakers, experts, analysts, and industry representatives discussed the Czech Republic’s priorities and needs for military modernization. Participants considered the Czech Republic’s leadership of—and participation in—wider regional security initiatives; its goals for deepening national specialization and capabilities inside NATO; and the strategic importance of smart defense industrial cooperation.