Print version

Navigating the Unknown: Barriers to Evidence-Based Defence and Security Policy in the European Union


At a time when Europe faces numerous crises, there is a real need for rigorous evidence to underpin effective policymaking. However, a gap between academia and policy creates clear obstacles in the use of evidence in policymaking. Many of these enduring obstacles are manifest in the inherent differences between separate communities: academics have difficulty communicating research in an applicable manner, and policymakers, in turn, tend to focus on operational motivations. The gap widens considerably when foreign, security and defence policy within the complex institutional structures of the European Union is considered. In addition to these well known barriers to evidence-based policy, there are two more obstacles in the defence and security space: sovereignty and dispersed decision-making. A dialogue of best practices must be opened up to broker knowledge in the EU context.
Keywords: Evidence-based policy, defence, security, EU, foreign affairs