29 March 2012. ESPI convened a roundtable entitled “Space Crisis Management: Filling the Gaps” to assess the level of preparedness to handle unexpected developments involving space

As part of an ongoing project on Space Crisis Management, ESPI organized a roundtable entitled “Space Crisis Management: Filling the Gaps”. The project emanated from a large international conference on “Space Security through the Transatlantic Partnership” co-organized by ESPI and the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) in June 2011 (see related webnews here). The roundtable participants sought to explore means for crisis prevention, including various proposals for transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs). Among them were the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities and related initiatives that address the need to protect space assets in an increasingly congested space environment. Several participants indicated that Europe and the U.S. need to set their sights on the global space “enterprise” and identify ways to bring other countries into that “enterprise” in a transparent, realistic and productive framework.

The roundtable also sought to delineate essential tools for effective space crisis management, as well as realistic scenarios that could trigger crisis management responses. It was also generally agreed that the asymmetric nature of space, where even a small satellite off course or an incident of neglect/misconduct, can cause disproportional damage, needs to be properly taken into account. Defining the nature of a space “event” is important when trying to assess its consequences on national or regional security and other interests as well as how best to distribute relevant information to an array of parties (e.g. policy-makers, the media, commercial operators etc.).   

A number of the participants underscored that for collaborative space crisis management to be successful, elaborate pre-crisis planning and an effective organizational structure are essential ingredients.  Finally, there was a consensus among the participants that the diplomatic community has an incomplete understanding of the implications and requirements of space crisis management. Accordingly, gatherings like this one are useful and will hopefully stimulate the political arrangements necessary to stay ahead of what are almost sure to be more frequent and troubling “incidents” in space.

From left: Phillip Verroco, JAPCC; Franck Schrottenloher, French Joint Space Command; Jakub Ryzenko, Space Research Centre in Poland; Alfred Vogel, National Defence Academy, Austria; Frank Müller, German SSA Centre; Neale Dewar, RAF; Sarah Tarry, NATO HQ; Amber Charlesworth, U.S. Department of State; Spyros Pagkratis, ESPI; Jana Robinson, ESPI; Pascal Legai, EUSC; Richard Buenneke, U.S. Department of State; Peter Hays, Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies; Veronica Cody, EEAS; and Peter Hulsroj, Director of ESPI

During a roundtable session.

- Roundtable flyer with agenda


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