Informing European Armaments and Security Technologies Policy: Enhancing Understanding of the Benefits and Problems of Increasing Cooperation

Submitting Institution

Newcastle University

Unit of Assessment

Politics and International Studies

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration, Political Science

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Summary of the impact

This research on European cooperation on armaments and homeland security technologies policy has informed discussions within the defence and security policy community. It has enhanced understanding of the most important requirements and conditions for successful cooperation among key defence and security policy actors, including European armaments directors, European parliamentarians and leading think tanks in several European countries. As a result, it significantly shaped debates that led to European Union (EU) policy on the pooling of military resources. It has also been used to inform policy-makers in several countries about the likely effects of EU armaments policy on the defence industry in Europe. Finally, it is being used by non-governmental organisations to inform their campaigns for the introduction of export controls on homeland security technologies.

Underpinning research

Jocelyn Mawdsley (Lecturer, 2005-current) has conducted research on defence and security technology policies in Europe, building on her ESRC-funded PhD research studentship (1997-2000). From 2001-4, she held a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship based first at the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) and then at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Her research has included both independent work and collaborations with Kempin and Steinicke (both Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik Berlin).

Mawdsley's work has examined the historical development of European cooperation on armaments and security technologies and provides a detailed analysis of the drivers of increased cooperation, obstacles that prevent or limit cooperation, the conditions for successful cooperation, and the effects on member states of the EU actively promoting cooperation. Her ESRC-funded PhD research studied the history of armaments cooperation in Britain, France and Germany during the 1990s (Mawdsley (2000) The changing face of European armaments co-operation: continuity and change in British, French and German armaments policy, 1990-2000, PhD thesis, University of Newcastle upon Tyne). Her analysis identified the drivers of increased cooperation, including falling defence budgets, U.S. defence restructuring and a decreasing world armaments market. However, the number of multilateral collaborative procurement projects actually remained low throughout the 1990s and many of the larger projects (e.g. Eurofighter and A400M) encountered difficulties. Mawdsley argued that regardless of the clear logic in favour of greater cooperation, European level institutions designed to foster cooperation would continue to struggle unless there was significant convergence in strategic culture, industrial interests and procurement practices among member states. Successful cooperation was therefore most likely between smaller groupings of like-minded states. More recently, she has shown that these issues have continued to cause difficulties for collaborative procurement projects, including the flagship A400M military transporter aircraft project [1].

In the last ten years, the EU has increased its influence in armaments policy through the establishment of the European Defence Agency and the Commission's growing legislative activism. Mawdsley has examined the development of EU influence, the response of larger states to potential restrictions on their sovereignty, and the likely effects on smaller EU members. In work with Kempin and Steinicke, she argued that Britain and France, as the most powerful military actors in the EU, have responded by developing bilateral rather than EU-wide cooperative agreements in order to secure the future of their own defence industries and technological capacities [2]. Their analysis shows that EU-wide defence cooperation is unlikely to satisfy British and French expectations about Europe's future military capacities. In her research on the effects of EU initiatives on smaller states, which have often had protectionist procurement regimes to protect uncompetitive `national champions', she argued that Commission policies are likely to increase the geographical concentration of the defence industry in larger member states to the detriment of smaller states' interest in EU-wide defence cooperation [3].

The development of European armaments policy has been further complicated by changes to how national security has been understood post-9/11. The transfer of U.S. homeland security approaches into the European context has stimulated the growth of new internal security technologies and firms in Europe. Mawdsley examined how EU policy in this area has evolved and, in particular, the attempt by the EU to integrate internal security policies with armaments policies as part of the development of a Common Security and Defence Policy and an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice [4]. She has argued that the two sectors are not as interchangeable as has been suggested, due to the different nature of the firms involved, and more importantly the type of customer they serve. Moreover, she maintained that the EU's attempt to promote the internal security industry by encouraging exports of security technologies, which have subsequently been used by some regimes to suppress protests, raises neglected ethical and legal questions about EU policy on export controls.

References to the research

[1] J. Mawdsley (2013) The A400M Project: From Flagship Project to Warning for European Defence Cooperation, Defence Studies, Vol.13 Issue 1: 14-32. [REF2 output: 191375]


[2] J. Mawdsley, R. Kempin and S. Steinicke (2012) Entente Cordiale: Eine erste Bilanz französisch-britischer Zusammenarbeit in der Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik, DGAP-Analyse 10, August 2012. Copy available on request or at:

[3] J. Mawdsley (2008) European Union Armaments Policy: Options For Small States?, European Security, Vol. 17 Issue 2-3: 367-86. [REF2 output: 139335]


[4] J. Mawdsley (2013) A European Agenda for Security Technology: From Innovation Policy to Export Controls, Brussels, Flemish Peace Institute. Copy available at: 0european%20agenda%20for%20security%20technology_report.pdf. [REF2 output: 190842]

Supporting grants:

Principal Investigator Grant Title Sponsor Period of Grant Value
Jocelyn Mawdsley The Merging of Security and Defence in the EU Flemish Peace Institute September 2011-September 2012 €38,401
Jocelyn Mawdsley The EU and Security Research: Advocacy, Legitimisation and Framing British Academy February 2008-August 2008 £1741

Details of the impact

Mawdsley's research programme has enhanced understanding among key policy actors of the potential problems and benefits of increasing European co-operation on defence and security technologies policy. She has adopted a deliberate strategy of collaborating with key government-funded think tanks (e.g. Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik and the Flemish Peace Institute) to promote wider use of her research findings by policy-makers, parliamentarians, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In addition, she has developed close links with policy-makers, leading to invitations to the 2008, 2010 and 2012 EU armaments policy conferences under the respective EU presidencies of France, Belgium and Cyprus, where she was one of five academic observers. Her approach has helped to ensure that all three strands of her work on armaments and security technologies policies have informed policy debates.

First, Mawdsley's early research at Newcastle on armaments co-operation underpinned a series of policy papers that she wrote during her Marie Curie Fellowship, including a report she co-authored with Quille (International Security Information Service), which was written originally for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and subsequently published in a longer version (The European Security Strategy: A New Framework for ESDP and Equipping the EU Rapid Reaction Force, ISIS Report, Brussels, 2003, available at: http://www.isis- This examined how the EU might fill its military capability gaps, given the unlikeliness of additional funding, through innovative cooperation methods, and drew on her research into the conditions under which cooperative measures like pooling and sharing might succeed. This work had a lasting influence on armaments policy debates. In a 2008 strategy paper on capacity sharing, French Lieutenant-Colonel Coquet, writing for the leading Paris-based think tank, Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri), draws heavily on Mawdsley and Quille's proposals for rationalising military equipment needs through pooling and sharing [IMP1, pp.14, 18, 20, 22, 36, 38]. Mawdsley and Quille's work was also the only non-official document cited in a report from the 2009 Conference of European National Armaments Directors, the senior civil servants responsible for armaments policy in each state, which strongly urged the pooling and sharing of military capabilities [IMP2, p.80]. The following year pooling and sharing was formally endorsed as an EU policy by Ministers of Defence, and the Ghent Framework established to enable this.

More recently, Mawdsley's research on the troubled history of armaments co-operation in Europe has continued to inform papers written by key policy actors. For example, the first EU Chief of Military Staff Graham Messervy-Whiting and ex-UK ambassador Alyson Bailes, who both served in the Western European Union (WEU), drew on her account of the cultural and ideological differences between French and British defence procurement policies in their 2011 paper on the death of the WEU [IMP3, pp.30ff].

Second, the underpinning research on the effects of EU armaments policy on member states and how those states have responded has been used to inform policy-makers in several countries, including Germany, Iceland and Romania. For example, the 2012 briefing for the German representative on the French Defence White Book Commission (a major review of French defence policy) included a copy of her co-authored paper (with Kempin and Steinicke) on the development of, and problems with, Franco-British defence agreements [IMP4]. In his 2011 article for Infosera, the in-house magazine of the Romanian Ministry of Defence, the Director General of the Romanian Directorate of Defence Intelligence draws on earlier work by Mawdsley (with Kempin and Steinicke) to argue that while there may be some co-operation between larger states there remains little evidence of successful EU-wide co-operation [IMP5, p.11]. Mawdsley's analysis of the likely effects of EU armaments policies on smaller states was the basis for a substantial section of a report commissioned by the Icelandic Defence Agency (2009) on the consequences of EU accession for Icelandic defence policy [IMP6, pp.32-7]. Her work has also informed reports by think tanks in France, Germany, Hungary and Poland.

Third, Mawdsley's recent analysis of the development of EU and member state policy affecting the homeland security industry has informed the work of parliamentarians and leading NGOs campaigning for export controls on security technologies. Her preliminary research was presented to an audience of policy-makers, parliamentarians and NGOs at an event co-organised by the Flemish Government and several leading think tanks as part of the Belgian EU presidency activities (November 2010). The evidence presented was subsequently used to inform a critical response to recent developments in EU defence and security industry policies in a policy paper published by the European Parliament Group for the United European Left/Nordic Green Left [IMP7, pp.31, 42-3, 47]. Her fuller analysis of the homeland security industry in Europe was funded by the Flemish Peace Institute and launched at the Flemish Parliament in February 2013 to an audience of 32 Flemish and European parliamentarians, representatives of the Flemish export licensing authority, NGOs and journalists. The influential NGO Statewatch has posted the full report on their website and her detailed analysis of the gaps in export controls and the policies shaping the homeland security industry in Europe is already informing the work of several NGOs, including the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Saferworld and the Quaker Council for European Affairs [IMP8]. A senior researcher and lobbyist for Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Netherlands) has highlighted the important contribution that this research has made to their understanding of this dimension of the arms trade:

"Understanding this sector is of crucial importance for civil society researchers, lobbyists and activists in the arms control community, as well as those involved in monitoring the increasing role of security technology in government's internal security infrastructure. Dr. Mawdsley's report has helped us to better understand the recent and likely future developments in EU policies on security technologies. It has provided new insights into export controls of security technologies, which we are using to inform our campaigning work in the Netherlands and the EU" [IMP9].

In sum, Mawdsley's research on the benefits and problems of increasing co-operation in European armaments and security technologies policy has reached and informed key defence and security policy actors in governments, think tanks and NGOs in the EU, Germany, France, Belgium and several other European countries. It has been systematically influential throughout the stages of the policy process: influencing the very preliminary stages where policy possibilities are imagined by key actors (e.g., Coquet); becoming an important point of reference as possibilities are narrowed down; and remaining influential as policy preferences are established and institutionalised. As a result, it has made a distinctive contribution to policy debates about pooling and sharing, the effects of EU armaments policy on member states, and the political significance of the development of the homeland security industry in Europe.

Sources to corroborate the impact

[IMP1] P. Coquet (2008) La notion de partage capacitaire en question, Institut français des relations internationals, Paris. In French. ISBN : 978-2-86592-336-6. Copy available on request or from IFRI at:

[IMP2] Rapports Sessions européennes des responsables d'armement (2009) Report: How to increase the common part of European nations military requirements?, Les Cahiers du CHEAr, French Ministry of Defence. In French. Copy available on request or at:

[IMP3] A. Bailes and G. Messervy-Whiting (2011) Death of an Institution: The end for Western European Union, a future for European defence? Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, Brussels. Copy available on request or at:

[IMP4] Email from Volker Perthes (Head of Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) to German official Wolfgang Ischinger on 22 August 2012 attaching research by Mawdsley, Kempin and Steinicke (2012). In German. Copy available on request.

[IMP5] G. Savu (2011) Parteneriatul Strategic Nato-UE.Rolul CapabilităŢilor Militare, Infosera, Nr 1/2011 pp.8-16. In Romanian. Copy available at:

[IMP6] A. Bailes and J. Gudmundsson (2009) The European Defence Agency (EDA) And Defence Industrial Cooperation: Implications And Options For Iceland, report for the Icelandic Defence Agency. Copy available on request.

[IMP7] J. Wagner (2012) Die EU als Rüstungstreiber, in S Lösing MEP (Ed.) Informationen zu Politik und Gesellschaft, The United European Left/ Nordic Green Left parliamentary party in the European Parliament. In German. Copy available on request or at:

[IMP8] Quaker Council for European Affairs blog. Copy available on request or at:

[IMP9] Factual statement from a Senior Researcher and Lobbyist for Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (2013). Copy available on request.