Transforming European Defense: A New Focus on Integration

European defense is in a decrepit state. While the war in Ukraine has shifted the continent's focus back onto defense, Europeans have not addressed the deeply fragmented and disorganized manner in which they generate their forces. Significant new funding commitments have been announced, but investing more in an uncoordinated manner will only marginally improve a dysfunctional status quo. The result is that the United States remains indispensable to European security, causing frustration on both sides of the Atlantic.

This report outlines a critical role for the European Union to play in coordinating and integrating European defense efforts. To realize a transformation of European defense requires not just more spending but deeper European defense cooperation, coordination, and integration. The European Union can play a critical role in this effort by leveraging its fiscal potential to spur cooperation and integration. The United States should embrace this development and focus as much energy on encouraging Europeans to coordinate their spending efforts as it does on encouraging more spending.

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

Max Bergmann
Director, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program and Stuart Center
Otto Svendsen
Research Associate, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program