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Politics and processes in the collaborative procurement of surveillance

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

The dynamics of collaborative procurement in the security sector are various and complex. They are affected not only by international politics and the security context, but also by the decision-making processes and practices of the procuring organisation. Successful collaborative acquisition is rare and existing scholarship often focuses on the inefficiencies and problems that beset these processes. This dissertation takes an original approach and attempts to identify positive drivers for successful collaborative procurement by focussing the enquiry on the capability that is being procured, surveillance, and on the related bureaucratic aspects of the procurement decision-making.
Multilateral procurement of security capabilities is necessary to meet the demand for joint, civil military solutions against transnational threats such as human trafficking, terrorism and cross border crime. Multinational surveillance missions fulfil functions of 'situational awareness' and monitoring border regions. With record numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the EU and NATO are increasing their capabilities and procurement efforts to acquire surveillance capability. The procurement of a surveillance capability by Western security organisations is part of an international security strategy and embedded in Western security culture.
This study analyses the social processes of collaboration in a joint surveillance capability in NATO and the EU. By referring to rational choice, institutional models and organisational, this study applies defence procurement approaches to consider drivers for multilateral procurement of a 'civil military' surveillance capability. The research question asks: 'Is the multilateral procurement of surveillance capability driven by calculus or culture?' Potential explanations lie in the context of NATO and EU's strategic culture, and the interests of actors involved in the procurement processes of these security organisations. Ultimately the study concludes that calculus drivers for procurement activity are necessary but not always sufficient to conclude successful collaborative acquisition. Cultural drivers such as multilateralism, the Western 'community of values' and the civil military security culture, are needed to achieve agreement for collaboration and political support.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018

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