Defence commission

Following its study on the Evolution of aerospace industries, which had underlined the importance of the defence sector, AAE set up a “Defence” commission in May 2002.

This Defence commission is charged with conducting reflections on aspects of European States’ security and defence where air and space-based components play a significant role. The Defence commission draws up in-depth dossiers on selected subjects or draft opinions of AAE to be approved in plenary session and widely disseminated.

The Defence commission reports to AAE Section 2 but includes representation from each of the other sections. Each section is therefore invited to designate its representative(s) to this commission.

The president of the commission particularly encourages European members and correspondents to participate in its activities. The president may also invite other European or French personalities from outside AAE to participate in its activities.

The Defence commission establishes a provisional timetable for its work and reports regularly on its activities to the board and the general assembly on the progress of its activities. If the need arises, the board and the general assembly may give guidance on the priorities to be adopted in carrying through its reflections.

The president of the Defence commission is designated by the AAE board.

Since its creation in 2002, numerous topics have been addressed by the Defence commission, leading to the publication of Dossiers or Opinion papers which have been widely distributed to the relevant authorities of European States and of the European Union:

  • Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence. The reflections of the Defence commission led to the publication of Dossier No.23 in 2004: “The Ballistic Threat, what should be the policy for France and Europe?”.
  • Space in the service of defence, a reflection conducted jointly with the AAE Space commission and the space-defence working group of the International commission of the 3AF. The outcome of these reflections was published as Section VII of Dossier No. 27, published in 2006: “Space; A European Vision”.
  • The strategic and security-defence aspects of the European satellite navigation system GALILEO, was the subject of a joint work by AAE, the Académie de Marine and the Bureau des Longitudes: “Galileo, strategic, scientific and technical stakes”, published by the Bureau des Longitudes en 2003, then updated and reissued by Harmattan in 2008.
  • The rapid development of UAVs and their impact in the field of defence, which led to Dossier No. 25, published in 2004: “The UAV Revolution”.
  • Security in Outer Space, which led to Dossier No. 31, published in 2008: “For a European Approach to Security in Space”.
  • The Future of European combat aircraft, which led to a first document published in 2011: “What future for the European Combat Aircraft Industry? A Death Foretold?”, which was widely distributed in Europe. Following this first document, the Defence Commission organised an international forum in May 2013 in Paris and developed an opinion paper, Opinion No. 5, entitled “Recommendations to avoid a strategic downgrading of Europe in the field of combat aviation following a European Forum organised in Paris on May 16th, 2013”.
  • The strengthening of the role of the European Defence Agency (EDA), which led to the publication in 2015 of Opinion No. 6: “Enabling the European Defence Agency to play its role to the fullest”.
  • How to ensure effective and rigorous management of defence programmes in cooperation, which gave rise in 2016 to the publication of AAE’s Opinion No. 7: “A robust management system for Joint European defence programmes”.
  • European cooperation in the deployment of space systems supporting security and defence. The Defence commission’s reflections resulted in the publication in 2018 of Dossier No. 43: “Space systems supporting Security and Defence, a new European approach”.

The Defence commission is closely monitoring recent EU initiatives in the fields of security and defence, particularly notable since 2016, and maintains active links with the European commission, the European defence agency and the European parliament.

Documents and Media

Access all the documents and media published by the commission.

Members of the commission

To see the composition of the commission