Defence cooperation agreements are an exciting new phenomenon. Today, almost as many countries participate in DCAs as well as traditional military alliances. The changing global security environment has led to the demand for new forms of defence cooperation. However, States still face long-standing cooperation problems, such as information asymmetries and distribution conflicts, which hinder cooperation and lead to a sub-supply of defence agreements. A comprehensive approach to DCAs reinforces the important role of exogenous security influences while underscoring the importance of network flows. The DCA network helps alleviate cooperation problems and, moreover, encourages states to sign agreements. An in-depth empirical analysis shows not only that these network effects are important drivers of defence cooperation, but that the network effects themselves are likely derived from information mechanisms. States respond to the bonds of others precisely because these links reveal strategically valuable information about trust, reliability and institutional preferences. Brazil and the United States have signed an unprecedented military agreement that, if fully exploited, could help open up the world`s largest defence market to domestic industry. The complex defence relationship between Japan and South Korea, with the United States as K negotiators, illustrates this logic.
Footnote 100 A Japanese military analyst said: “Japan and South Korea are currently cooperating indirectly through the United States. If the two nations cooperate directly, it would reduce the burden on the United States. Footnote 101 For example, a direct Japanese-Korean DCA would allow Japan`s signal intelligence to complement South Korea`s vast human intelligence and ultimately improve the ability of the three governments to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat. U.S. analysts and defense officials agree that all parties would benefit from the “triangle completion.” Footnote 102 But an agreement remains elusive, almost exclusively because of the persistent mistrust. As a result, the United States acted as an “honest broker” and adopted numerous confidence-building measures, including footnote 103, including secondary talks at multilateral events, the annual trilateral defence conference and small “Tabletop” exercises, as well as interim extensions on interoperability, logistics and procurement. Footnote 104 The success of these actions depends on the ability of the mediator to credibly inform each party of the reliability of the others.