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In 1987, the Ministers of Defence, members of the independent European Programme Group (IEPG), decided to build up a European defence technology market to counter the US dominance. The report became known as the Wise Men report. This initiated the establishment of a working group by the German Association of Defence Technology Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Wehrtechnik e.V., DWT) under the leadership of Dr. R. Germershausen. The group began co-operative talks with the British DMA (Defence Manufacturers Association) and the French CAIA (Confederation Amicale des Ingenieurs de I'Armement). 

During the International Air-Show in Hanover in 1988, the leaders of these three organizations discussed the possibilities of a future co-operation on European level. These talks led to the foundation of a group which met for the first time under the leadership of the DMA on 26 September 1989 in connection with the Naval Equipment Exhibition in Portsmouth. The main topic discussed on this symposium was the development of industrial research in the military field in the year 1992 and beyond. The second symposium was organized by CAIA in June 1990 in Paris. For the first time, members of other European Defence Technology Associations like the Spanish Asociacion Civil de Ingenieros de la Defensa (ACID) and the Belgian Defence Industries Group (BDIG) took part.

The German Association for Defence Technology (DWT) was the host for the third symposium in 1991. In the same year, the president of the Swiss Association (Schweizerische Gesellschaft fur Technik und Armee, STA) invited the leaders of the European Defence Technology Associations to their first presidents meeting on 8 November 1991 in Geneva. It was decided to found anEuropean Federation of Defence Technology Associations (EDA). The Swiss STA, the French CAIA, the German DWT, the Spanish ACID, the Danish MTF (Militairteknisk Forening) and the Dutch KIVI NIRIA DV (Royal Institute of Engineers, department of Defence Technology) were the group of founding member associations.

Follow the links on the left of this page for more information about EDA (now EDTA).