Summary: CARD is the process of ongoing review that identifies next steps for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) development. The European Defence Agency (EDA) acts as the ‘CARD Secretariat’.
At stake: CARD provides for the constant refuelling of CSDP integration by proposing new concrete measures, without requiring new strategic political direction. For comparison, cf. the drive in integration across Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) through the JHA Roadmap system.
What they say: “CARD is the cornerstone of recent EU security and defence initiatives and an essential intermediate step in the overall EU capability development process” – EDA
Exposure: Any association with the EDA carries implied association with CARD – ie the EDA or CSDP measures you sign up to will not remain static.
Action: The UK should mitigate the consequences of CARD by limiting its exposure, which can only be done by staying outside of EU structures.
Deep dive: https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/our-current-priorities/coordinated-annual-review-on-defence-(card)