Making the Most of the European Sky Shield Initiative

European nations have provided a wide range of air and missile defense systems to help Ukraine defend against indiscriminate missile and drone strikes by Russia. Russia’s aggression and tactics have also renewed focus on their own air and missile defenses. This report finds that European air and missile defense faces big challenges, with serious gaps in ground-based air defense, command and control, and defense against emerging advanced threats.

The German-led European Sky Shield Initiative, launched in October 2022, has the potential to address these problems and fill the gaps. However, Sky Shield is already under severe political pressure and faces an uphill battle given the many challenges of European defense cooperation. Yet given critical shortfalls in air and missile defense, European nations have little choice but to make Sky Shield a success.

This report is made possible by general funding to CSIS. No direct sponsorship contributed to this report. 

Sean Monaghan
Visiting Fellow, Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program