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Carry That Weight: Improving European Strategic Airlift Capabilities

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Abstract:

This dissertation addresses the problem of the shortfall between the strategic airlift capabilities which European Union requires if it is to fulfill the ambition to be a credible security actor and the capabilities available to the major European nations individually and collectively. It does so by identifying and describing the key factors that influence decision-making on strategic airlift capabilities, in the context of various policy options for doing so, as well as the barriers to the implementation of the most cost-effective among the various options available. A key assertion of this dissertation is that pooling of resources is the most cost-effective way to address airlift capability shortfalls in a restrictive budgetary environment, but also the most politically challenging to implement. Improving European strategic airlift capabilities has received significant attention in recent years in the context of NATO and the European Union. This research aims at contributing to the debate and should be of interest to policymakers concerned with improving European defense capabilities, as well as to academics and researchers addressing that issue.