Space as an enabler of security and defence, said Internal Market Commissioner

Although it has been a taboo at the European level up to now, the time has come to break this taboo and to recognise that space is an enabler of security and defence, with a defence dimension for Galileo and a security element for Copernicus, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said at the 12th Space Policy Conference in Brussels on 22 January.

In his address at the Conference, the Commissioner stressed that the security and defence element of the space programmes would be strengthened with the progressive launch of two new initiatives – a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) system to monitor space debris, and a Governmental Satellite Communication (GovSatCom) initiative to provide Member States with reliable and secure satellite communication to support police, border protection and civil defence.

These programmes will be partly under the responsibility of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) as its mandate expands with the creation of the new European Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA). Speaking at the conference, GSA Chief Operating Officer Pascal Claudel noted that, while some of the elements in the EUSPA mandate had yet to be finalised, the GSA was already preparing to take it up and, in particular, has started preparatory activities for GovSatCom.