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9 minute read

Patrick Bellouard, Bonn

The European Armament Cooperation needs more harmonisation of national requirements A success story of European cooperation

Interview with Patrick Bellouard, Director, OCCAR-EA*

TheEuropean: Mister Bellouard, you are celebrating these days the 10th anniversary of this International Organisation. You are after a period of growth of the agency the third Director since OCCAR obtained its Legal Status in 2001. Could you define shortly what the added value of OCCAR is to Europe’s Armed Forces? Mr Bellouard: OCCAR is a lean and agile European Organisation, customer-oriented and offering through-life leading edge programme management and corporate governance practice. The principles and the structure of OCCAR pave the way for better efficiency and cost effectiveness in the management of collaborative armament programmes. This setup was created to make available to Europe’s Armed Forces the highly complex such as procurement agen cies that usually limit their field of action to development and production.

TheEuropean: And your vision? Mr Bellouard: My vision, the vision of OCCAR, is that we want to be a centre of excellence, and the first choice in Europe, in the field of the collaborative acquisition of defence equipment.

TheEuropean: And what does it mean in terms of values? Mr Bellouard: We are convinced of OCCAR’s fundamental role in the establishment of a customer orientated European Procurement capability for defence equipment. We consider pro fes -

“In the domain of the European Defence co-operation we consider EDA and OCCAR to be natural partners, whereby OCCAR is situating itself downstream of EDA in the capability development process“.

equip ment needed according to their harmonised and agreed requirements, within the shortest feasible timelines and at minimum possible cost.

TheEuropean: What is OCCAR’s mission and what is your vision? Mr Bellouard: The mission of OCCAR is to facilitate and manage collaborative European armament programmes through their life cycle and to manage technology demonstrator programmes, to the satisfaction of our customers.

TheEuropean: Important seem to me in this sentence the words “through their life cycle” Mr Bellouard: You are fully right. These words are highlighting one of the major differences between OCCAR and other en ti ties

Patrick Bellouard since 1 March 2008, Director OCCAR in Bonn. He was born in June 1952 and graduated as engineer in the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’espace in 1977. 1979: Fighter pilot. 1986 to 1989: head of management helicopter engines programs in the DGA. 1989 to 1992: technical adviser to the French National armament director. 1992 to 1998: French Embassy in Washington DC, MOD and DGA, Paris. 2004 to 2008: Coordinator of the French Prime Minister for the European Galileo program. sionalism, teamwork and a positive attitu de toward change as key values to reach the level of excellence. We consider the cul - tural diversity present in our organisation as a stimulating for ce for innovation and continuous improvement. The integrity of our staff members is of utmost importance while dealing with the financial resources and weapon systems of our Nations.

TheEuropean: OCCAR has a limited number of Member Nations: six nations out of the 27 EU States. In 2005 Spain was the last accession to OCCAR. How can you explain this stagnation? Mr Bellouard: It is fully clear that since 2005 OCCAR went through a period of relative stability in terms of Member Nations. It has to be noted however that since then, more Nations joined OCCAR, not as Member Nations, but as Participating States. Whilst Turkey and Luxemburg were already participating in A400M, and the Netherlands in BOXER, also Sweden, Finland and Poland joined the OCCAR family in the framework of the ESSOR programme in 2009. In most cases, these Nations do not seem to feel the need to influence the governance of the organisation while benefiting from it for the management of the programmes they are participating in.

TheEuropean: Will those countries become future members? Mr Bellouard: This is hard to predict and more a matter for OCCAR’s Board of Supervisors, than for the OCCAR-EA Director. As we understand it, non-Member Par ti ci pating States are very satisfied with the OCCAR model, with the way they are treated as OCCAR-EA’s customers and with the cost-efficiency of the

services they get. In the case of any enlargement the confirmed and still relevant fundamentals of OCCAR as founded more than 10 years ago would remain fos te red and continue to insure value for money for the Nations.

TheEuropean: This leads me to the question of the future role of OCCAR in the European secu ri ty and defence structure. There is on the one hand the Euro - pean Defence Agency (EDA) as a very political instrument which is going to find its role in the arma - ment sector and is covering all 27 EU Member States. And there is on the other hand OCCAR as a ve ritable centre of excellence for collaborative defence equipment programmes. How can fruitful cooperation be possible taking into account such huge diversity? Mr Bellouard: In the domain of the European defence co-operation we consider EDA and OCCAR to be natural partners, whe - reby OCCAR is situating itself downstream of EDA in the capability development pro cess. In this context, one way of looking upon the mission of EDA can be to promote the co-operation between the member nations in order to create more opportunities for collaborative defence programmes. OCCAR is then best placed to manage these collaborative defence equipment programmes for maxi mised benefits resulting from cooperation. OCCAR’s actual programmes

Photo: OCCAR, Bonn

TheEuropean: Is there a concrete example? Mr Bellouard: This co-operation is already visible throughout two EDA Category B Collaborative Programmes for which the management is entrusted to OCCAR, namely the ESSOR programme and the Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) Programme. So, although both organisations are very different in nature, as you stated, and have overlapping but different objectives, they already have proven that efficient cooperation producing tangible results is possible between them.

TheEuropean: Is there a coope ration agreement? Mr Bellouard: This already smoothly functioning relationship at various levels, particularly at working levels, deserves a boost under the format of an official Administrative Arrangement between both organisations. The European: What could be the content of such an agreement between the EDA and OCCAR? To leave to you the excellence to de liver effective programme management services in the widest sense for which EDA has actually no capabilities? Mr Bellouard:The idea of an Administrative Arrangement bet - ween EDA and OCCAR, underpinned by a Security Agreement between the EU and OCCAR, was launched at the level of the General Affairs and External Relations Council in 2008. The base line was to ensure that the activities of both Organisations are mutually reinforcing non duplicative, but coherent and complementary. We hope that the approval process on the EUside will be conluded soon.

The European: May we discuss then your business model? Mr Bellouard: In our business model the OCCAR Programme Division is the sole interface between our customers (the par ti - cipating states) and Industry. We strive for a strong industrial partner who will act as prime contractor.

The European: In which form? Mr Bellouard: This prime contractor can be a European system integrator or a consortium. One of OCCAR’s main principles to obtain value for money is that the selection of the contractor is done on the basis of competition.

The European: Are there enough companies to do this? Mr Bellouard: Only a few companies are really able to act as prime contractor and system integrator for complex weapon systems, which makes the selection of the prime contractor on the basis of competition very difficult. In such case, OCCAR will opt for a controlled competitive environment. This means that the prime is not selected on basis of competition but is encouraged to select the subcontractors on a competitive basis and has to demonstrate this course of action.

The European: That needs a model for customer relationship Mr Bellouard: Surely, we have a model for this issue: The Pro - gramme Board, which is at the same level of representatives as

Patrick Bellouard discussing with Hartmut Bühl at OCCAR’S Bonn Central office Photo: OCCAR, Bonn

36 Nations involvment in OCCAR business

the Board of Supervisors, comprises only delegates from States participating in a specific programme, whether they are OCCAR Member States or not. This means that for all the relations with the Nations related to the core business, each Programme has its own Programme Board and Programme Committee, augmented by Programme Working Groups and Expert Groups as required; these relations are mainly governed by the Programme Decisions. The relationship of each Programme with the industries concerned is ruled by the contracts concluded in accordance with the OCCAR rules and in close cooperation with the Participating States involved and signed by me.

The European: Thus I have to learn what are the OCCAR programmes and how you are managing these programmes? Mr Bellouard: OCCAR Programme Management is focused on delivery through close customer involvement, a genuine Through-Life Programme approach implying multi-disciplinary Programme Teams guided by Programme Decisions with High Level Objectives, state-of-the-art Programme Management and Corporate Governance practices, continual improvement and clear decision-making and accountability lines based upon empowerment.

The European: What are the key differentiators? Mr Bellouard: The key differentiators of OCCAR-EA are the con - cept of the Central Office, which is a powerful pool of expertise and ser vices for the Programmes, allowing the Programme Divi - sions to remain lean and mean, fully focused on their core busi - ness; and enabling the intensive exchange of best practices and experience between the various programmes. TheEuropean: And on the corporate level? Mr Bellouard: The relations of OCCAR-EA with the Nations are run through the Board of Supervisors, where the National Ar ma ment Directors are representing their Ministers of Defence. These relations are governed by the OCCAR Con vention and a series of OCCAR Management Procedures available on our Internet site www.occar-ea.org .

TheEuropean: How do you deal with the “national special” requirements for a system? Is there any system in your portfolio which is unique in design? How can OCCAR influence nations concerning the requirements of a product? Mr Bellouard: In order to reap the many potential benefits of international defence equipment co ope ration, it is essential that the Nations har - mo nise their requirements as far as possible. This effort the na tions have to do between them is often happening nowadays in the EDA context and we will always try to be of as much support to the nations as they will allow us to be. Photo: OCCAR, Bonn

The European: That means that you maintain a base line? Mr Bellouard: But of course, strictly. Again for cost-effectiveness reasons, specific national requirements can be accommodated through the introduction of modularity and differentiated modules or by the definition of the required number of type ver sions. This still will result in increased but contained costs to be accepted by the Nations involved.

The European: A view to the future. Are there programme opportunities which OCCAR might integrate in the next two years? Mr Bellouard: The prime opportunities for OCCAR to consider in terms of programme business for the future are the start of In Service Support phases for the OCCAR programmes that are on the verge of concluding Development and Production. This already succeeded for COBRA and TIGER, and is being prepared fully in the FSAF and A400M contexts.

The European: And in the framework of the EDA OCCAR cooperative relationship? Mr Bellouard: A number of possibilities already are being discussed with programmes such as the Biological Equipment Development and Enhancement Programme (Bio-EDEP) and the Advanced European Jet Pilot Trainer (AEJPT). We are clearly favouring the relationship with EDA, but OCCAR can of course also continue to integrate programmes stemming directly from Nation.