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Space for Security and Defence: Towards increased synergies among European stakeholders

Brussels, 21 September 2009. More than 120 delegates representing European institutional stakeholders and industry across the civilian, security and defence domain attended the workshop on ‘Space for Security and Defence’, jointly organised by the European Defence Agency, the European Commission and the European Space Agency in Brussels on 16 September.

Given that effective civil security and defence capabilities are linked to the ability of decision makers to rely on timely, accurate and comprehensive information, the workshop set out to explore common needs in the area of situation awareness with a particular bearing on space.

Key note speakers highlighted the need to deepen the already existing dialogue on space and security among the European Defence Agency, the European Commission, the European Space Agency and the Council Secretariat General so as to address the integration of space systems into the wider ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) and NEC (Network-enabled capabilities) domain based on a capability and user-driven approach.

The first Panel provided decision-makers and operational end-users from the civilian security and defence remit with an opportunity to present their view on the role and use of space in crisis management, civil protection and other complex emergencies. Based on their personal experience, panellists from the EU and UN framework underlined their respective needs during military operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for timely, secure and highly accurate data delivery based on a guaranteed access to relevant Earth Observation and satellite communications assets. Particular emphasis was laid on the aspect of ‘responsiveness’ and the need to deliver relevant information to operational actors on the ground within hours.

The second Panel allowed European institutional stakeholders to present on-going or planned programmatic activities and raise awareness regarding the added value of linking space-derived data into the overall ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) and NEC (Network enabled capabilities) architecture. “The space dimension thereby transcends a variety of priorities – not only NEC and ISR but equally domains such as medical support, information management, ISR sensors or wide-area maritime surveillance”, as highlighted by Capability Manager Denis Trioulaire (EDA).

The workshop recognised in particular:
· the growing political momentum and commitment between institutional players to cooperate across the civil security and defence domain with regard to space
· the support by Member States to further look for complementarity among activities at European and national level
· the necessity to develop future space assets in a capability-driven approach responding to clearly stated user needs

Based on such principles, cooperation shall be further developed in a systematic fashion, starting with the following actions:
· The ‘Structured Dialogue on space and security’ among EDA, ESA, EC and the Council Secretariat General shall be strengthened and used as a platform to study the scope and conditions for future dual-use capabilities.
· Based on the mandate received by Defence Ministers in May 2009 on a ‘European Framework Cooperation for Security and Defence research’, EDA will look for synergies with the European Commission as well as other institutional players such as the European Space Agency in the wider area of ‘situational awareness’.
· EDA, the European Commission, ESA and the Council Secretariat General will explore civil-military synergies in the field of Earth Observation, incl. GMES and MUSIS and related standardisation issues, in a dedicated task force.
· The security dimension of GMES shall be further developed.
· ESA’s initiative on a European Space Responsiveness System (GIANUS), linking navigation, satellite communications and Earth observation, among others, into one coherent and user-driven system will be further examined by the other European stakeholders, also in view of synergy and complementarity with on-going activities.
· The European SSA (Space Situational Awareness) System will be further developed as a European autonomous infrastructure based on civilian (ESA-lead) and military (EDA-lead) user requirements, while the European Commission and Council Secretariat General will further provide guidance on governance and data policy issues.

Workshop agenda

ESA Website

DGENTR website

Background Info


Contact Info
Raquel Patrício Gomes