February 26, 2024

Putin, Trump, production capacity: the defence challenges facing Europe

Source: The Guardian

Journalist: Lili Bayer

Jim Townsend, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and Nato policy, said: “Right now, does Europe have the ability to fill gaps the US might leave? The answer is no. Europe knows that, European industry knows that, Putin knows that.”

In European defence policy circles, views are split on what to expect after the US presidential election, particularly given recent comments from Donald Trump that, if re-elected, he would not defend Nato allies who fail to meet defence spending targets.


The EU has spent billions on a fund partially reimbursing member states for aid sent to Ukraine. And the EU and Nato have put plans in motion to help boost defence production, with the European Commission expected to unveil a new European defence industrial strategy in the coming weeks.

But there are still challenges, according to Townsend, who is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

“Money is slowly coming in,” he said, but some countries “need to spend more than 2% — a lot more than 2%, like Germany – to get their forces up to snuff.”

Industrial capacity remained insufficient, he said.

“Industry is too small in terms of Europe, and the US has got the same problem – even if the money and political will was there, industry will not be able to deliver at scale what is needed and so it could take years for delivery of some things.”

Read the full story and more from The Guardian.


  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...