6 January 2009. Following the recent steps by ESA and EU on strengthening European space activities for security, this ESPI Perspective entitled “The Need to Counter Space Terrorism – A European Perspective” takes a look on the so far neglected threat of space assets from space terrorism and proposes a coherent EU approach to counter this real and latent menace.
While “Space Terrorism” is a timely topic especially in the light of the recent ESA Ministerial Council Meeting’s decision on the introduction of a preparatory programme on a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) capacity, Europe is so far not really prepared, neither conceptual nor practical, to address this threat. Intending to use space increasingly for security related purposes through dual-use programmes like GMES and Galileo, the EU increases its dependency on space and at the same time its vulnerabilities in this regard. By showing that terrorists are both motivated and capable of conducting a terrorist attack in space, it is argued in this issue of “ESPI Perspectives” that any EU space policy needs to reflect the new post-Cold War security order, where threats do no longer only come from state actors and where technological progress places capabilities formerly considered to be “advanced” in the hands of non-State actors. By introducing programmes like GMES and Galileo, the EU thus should consequently establish relevant structures taking into account new threats resulting from an increased vulnerability, thus avoiding duplication of weaknesses other space-faring countries. This ESPI Perspective provides the Czech EU Presidency with the relevant policy recommendations to address the threat of space terrorism, thereby strongly discouraging the introduction of a space control system based primarily on space weapons. The EU Presidency has to make use of the momentum created by the renewed debate on the peaceful use of outer space, and take the lead in bringing about a sample case through introducing a common European approach to counter space terrorism. Space and security-related topics have to be tackled in a combined manner.
ESPI Project Manager Nina-Louisa Remuß
The author of this issue of “ESPI Perspectives”, Nina-Louisa Remuß, has been with ESPI since July 2008, first as a Research Intern and now as Project Manager for “Homeland security and space”. She has written her master’s thesis on European Counter Terrorism Policy and graduated from the University of St. Andrews in November 2007. Nina-Louisa Remuß has been an intern at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and the Editorial Staff of the online service of the German Federal Ministry of Defence.