European Military Prospects, Economic Constraints, and the Rapid Reaction Force

by Charles Wolf, Jr., Benjamin Zycher

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This report analyzes the recent record of economic growth, military spending, and military investments in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. The analysis provides a basis for estimating these countries' capacity to generate sufficient resources to enhance the military capabilities sought for the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and its instrument, the Rapid Reaction Force (RRF).The study uses economic and military trends in these four countries over the 1985-1999 period to make corresponding forecasts for 2001 to 2010. It then compares these estimates with four independently derived estimates of the investment costs of the proposed ESDP/RRF force. The study formulates several options that would enable these countries, in conjunction with other non-NATO members of the European Union, to finance the investment costs associated with the ESDP/RRF. The authors conclude that the European Union, while it has the economic capacity to finance these costs, albeit with some delay in the original timetable, is less likely to acquire genuinely enhanced capabilities for the ESDP force than to continue to produce descriptive rhetoric about it.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Background and Objectives

  • Chapter Two

    European Economies and Defense Budgets, 1985-1999 and Beyond: Methods and Models

  • Chapter Three

    Economic and Military Trend Analysis, 1985-1999, and Forecasts for 2001-2010

  • Chapter Four

    Preliminary Cost Estimates of the ESDP/RRF and Potential Sources of Funding

  • Chapter Five

    Political and Strategic Issues: Concluding Observations

  • Appendix A

    Model and Method

  • Appendix B

    Selected Demographic Data for Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division.

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