DAV4, or “Defence Austerity: A New Paradigm for Defence and Security Cooperation in the Visegrad Region” is a project of the Central European Policy Institute, a regional think-tank by the Slovak Atlantic Commission, and its Visegrad partners (International Centre for Democratic Transition, Jagello 2000 and Polish Institute of International Affairs), supported by the International Visegrad Fund. It was initiated with two goals in mind: First, to explore the most cost-effe tive, politically feasible and militarily useful areas of defence co-operation among the Visegrad countries. Second, to establish regional defence collaboration as one of the top priorities for the Visegrad framework, and to build its top-down support. The final output of the project is a report composed of two parts: The present Report contains a set of principles and projects, which the DAV4 expert group recommends the governments focus on. The extended Study contains a more in-depth analysis of the possible collaboration initiatives based on the specific needs of the Visegrad countries.
The making of the report
The Expert Group first gathered in autumn 2011 at the Smart Security conference in Bratislava and soon after at the Chateau Bela Strategic Forum held in southern Slovakia, in order to elaborate research methodology and set the agenda of the project. The experts started their research by exploring best practices from other countries. In January 2012, they undertook a trip to Norway and Sweden to discuss Nordic Defence Co-operation with senior defence officials including the Norwegian minister of defence. A month later, the group undertook a visit to Brussels, for conversations with senior officials and diplomats about NATO’s expectations for the Chicago Summit. In the meantime, the experts were conducting ground research at home:they were consulting their respective ministries about procurement plans and schedules, military ambitions and appetite for collaboration. During the Visegrad Ministerial Meeting held in Prague in March 2012, the expert group members met with top figures in the Visegrad foreign ministries and of the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. This helped them to formulate politically realistic yet ambitious recommendations for mutual collaboration among the V4 countries. The preliminary results were presented at the GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum, held on April 12-14, 2012. The GLOBSEC Forum was the last of the major security-related conferences before the NATO Chicago Summit and was an ideal platform to discuss common Visegrad military projects for the alliance’s meeting. The time between GLOBSEC and the NATO Chicago Summit was used by the expert group and the representatives of the V4 ministries of foreign affairs and defence for co-operation and discussion on the final version of the document as well as its use in the official positions for the Summit.