Moreover, the world is changing, modifying the role of public actors with respect to a market that’s increasingly apt in providing forces with space-based services. In this context, ESA’s recent Council at Ministerial level, held in Lucerne in December 2016, took place in an extremely challenging political, financial and social environment. European States took political steps to tackle these challenges through ambitious, progressive and concrete orientations: Space 4.0 and United Space in Europe. They build upon European cooperation’s very roots, and reboots the core that brings Europeans together: disseminating and reaping the benefits of knowledge, assuring a seamless grid of innovation, strengthened exchanges with international partners and inspiring Europeans through challenging endeavours and identity building. In the field of space and security, the ESA Director General has been invited to establish a strategy concerning ESA space security activities, in coordination with its Member States and other national and European actors.
We believe that security is a key component of this political message.
For space and security to become a successful combination, ESA and EDA Member States need to further strengthen in partnerships and cooperation. As said before, 2016 was a good start in this respect, with the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP), the increased security dimension of space highlighted in the Commission’s Space Strategy, and the ESA-EC Joint Statement on Shared Vision and Goals for The Future of Europe in Space through which the EU and ESA have called for “strengthening synergies between civilian and security activities in the fields of navigation, communication and observation” and to “ensure European autonomy in accessing and using space in a safe and secure environment… including against cyber threats.”
ESA and EDA have already successfully built a partnership, including with the European Commission in its areas of interest and expertise, in domains such as Critical Space Technologies for European Non-Dependence, the command and control of RPAS, cyber security, CBRNe, and, of course, Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM). Regarding the latter, the cooperation has led to a €30 million Precursor Programme in ESA, which will be reinforced by potential programme segments from EDA and European Commission, building in effect, the first ever cooperative dual-use space security initiative.
We believe that success in this multi-actor, satellite communication cooperation will trigger a positive momentum for two other critical space capabilities that are nowadays indispensable for any security related operation: space-based Earth observation and Positioning, Navigation and Timing. Regarding the latter, in a significant political move which shows that Member States are serious about space and security, the EDA Steering Board on 23 March 2017 has adopted the first ever European Military Satellite Navigation policy, on which basis Member States have thus tasked EDA to produce a military user needs document by early 2018. In fact, as regards imagery, EDA is currently producing user needs, which will have a positive influence on its partnership with both ESA and the Commission, for the benefit of European security communities.
These cooperative activities will finally have a positive effect on governance itself. Member States have been adamant in keeping control over security-related infrastructures. By successfully providing Member States and Forces on the ground with concrete space-based operational capabilities, we are in fact bringing together, around Member States, all the necessary actors: ESA, the Commission and EDA, in support of Member States themselves. Indeed, the aim of ESA and EDA is fundamentally to propose solutions to Member States and the Commission so that European programmes can respond to security needs and, in turn, provide effective and required services to ensure Europe’s security at home and abroad.
Based on our tangible successes and experiences, we genuinely believe that space for security is not only a crucial ambition for Europe’s security and future, but also a building block of Europe’s very identity and vision of the future.