Since 1990, the European states have confronted tensions in balancing security of supply imperatives and equipment affordability constraints in procuring advanced weapons systems. Security of supply is equated with the retention of a national defence technological and industrial base (DTIB). Correspondingly, intergenerational cost increases in weapons production have progressively eroded the affordability of maintaining autonomous DTIBs, leading to the internationalization of what were formerly considered ‘national’ defence firms. This chapter challenges the argument of some analysts that these structural factors will lead inevitably to loss of control by national governments over weapons production and the inexorable rise of a globalized defence industry. It demonstrates instead that the European states do exercise significant agency in national defence procurement and industrial policy such that national DTIB protection still prevails, which explains why EU attempts to integrate and foster a strategically autonomous European defence technological and industrial base (EDTIB) have hitherto failed.
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