In parallel to its long-standing commitment to Nato, the UK is now a full participant in the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Under the control of the Council of the European Union, CSDP is managed by the EU High Representative, effectively the EU's Foreign & Defence Minister. It is supported, inter alia, by a Political & Security Committee, a Military Committee, a Military Staff, Assessment Staff (SitCen), a European Defence Agency (EDA) as well as operational planning HQs. Since 2003, it has launched some 27 "CSDP missions".
According to the Lisbon Treaty, CSDP is aimed at “reinforcing the European identity and its independence”. Specifically it will “provide the Union (EU) with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets". In these times of financial and economic crisis and given the inclination of the US to focus less on European interests, some question the wisdom of establishing structures under EU auspices that duplicate and create tensions in Nato, and create limited additional military capability.