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Intelligence support for the CSDP: Contested Capabilities

European Union
Foreign Policy
Security
Peace
Artur Gruszczak
Jagiellonian University
Artur Gruszczak
Jagiellonian University
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Abstract

A strategic approach to the Common Security and Defence Policy highlights the importance of effective methods and tools for the implementation of key objectives of the EU as a responsible security stakeholder. The broad range of CSDP missions and operations, entailing the deployment of military and civilian personnel, sets out the requirement of tailored preparedness, planning and conduct procedures. Strategic awareness and situational assessments are the absolute necessity for an effective fulfillment of operational tasks, prevention of threats and provision of security in the areas of EU-led activities. Intelligence and reconnaissance play an increasingly important role in the comprehensive approach to CSDP missions and operations. They facilitate decision-making processes activating CSDP deployments, enable threat assessment and early-warning mechanisms as well as support operational activities on site. One may argue that intelligence support is an essential part of the entire process of CSDP missions and operations: from an early assessment to the accomplishment (or not) of the tasks. This paper takes up the problem of intelligence support for the CSDP as a contested issue determined by controversies over disputable capacities of EU agencies and bodies, ambiguities about Member States’ assets, as well as obstacles to cooperation between Member States and relevant EU bodies. Building on a modified concept of institutional isomorphism (Di Maggio & Powell, 1983), this paper argues that intelligence support for CSDP activities has been limited and contentious because of the dominant patterns of vertical isomorphism enforced by Member States. Priority for national interests and assets hinders the logic of reciprocity and lowers the value of synergetic links between intelligence services (military and civilian ones) of Member States and relevant EU agencies and bodies. Therefore, the scope and intensity of CSDP missions and operations, as well as accompanying activities in response to transnational threats such as terrorism, cross-border crime and CBRN weapons and technologies, have been limited and downsized by intelligence shortcomings (concerning most of all raw data, but also processed information and intelligence products). The research presented in this paper combines qualitative methods od data collection (based on open-access sources and declassified documents) with informal and semi-structured interviews with anonymous national representatives of intelligence services and relevant EU officials.