2023 - REPORT - ENSURING AN ALLIED DEFENCE INDUSTRIAL BASE FOR NATO’S NEW DETERRENCE AND DEFENCE BASELINE

Utku CAKIROZER (Türkiye) - GENERAL REPORT

07 October 2023

In the wake of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, NATO Allies have surged aid to Ukraine – pouring in all forms of vital assistance, including military, economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic believing that Ukraine’s self-defence is legitimate and its sovereign rights worth defending. Yet, the military aid NATO Allies have provided has revealed a growing strategic challenge: the defence industrial bases of NATO countries cannot currently replace military equipment at the rate at which it is being consumed in Ukraine and, therefore, cannot resupply their own strategic NATO stockpiles. This situation threatens NATO's defence and deterrence posture as it lowers military readiness and calls into question NATO's ability to deter future aggression.

A clear lesson from Russia’s war in Ukraine is that NATO Allies must rebuild their defence industrial bases. The challenge of doing so, however, is complicated by the transitional characteristics of warfare today: While Allies are working to remain at the avantgarde of the technological revolution impacting all aspects of modern life and war, they must also maintain legacy platforms and ammunitions to be able to defend and deter in technology-degraded environments. NATO Allies, therefore, must create new, dynamic and resilient defence bases capable of producing the military systems at the scales required by a more threatening strategic environment. Such a task requires significant long-term investments as well as changes to regulatory frameworks to underpin industrial support and unleash NATO’s potential.

At the 11-12 July summit in Vilnius, Allies committed to fostering a stronger and more resilient environment for transatlantic defence-industrial trade and investment. The announced Defence Production Action plan seeks to underwrite Allied efforts to invest in the new capability requirements necessary to meet NATO’s new baseline for defence and deterrence, replenish dwindling armour and ammunition stocks, as well as continue to support Ukraine over the long haul. As this general report makes clear, implementing and achieving the plan’s goals will be an enduring challenge requiring sustained political will and investment over the long term. 
 


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