6 March 2013. ESPI Report 44 entitled “Space Crisis Management: Europe’s Response” reviews Europe’s terrestrial crisis management mechanisms, introduces the concept of space crisis management, and proposes measures to bolster Europe’s institutional preparedness to manage space-related crises.
The loss of important space assets and capabilities (both civilian and military) could have a debilitating impact on the world economy and global security as well as exacerbate various terrestrial crises, whether they be humanitarian or security-related. Although space crises caused by natural hazards or technical issues warrant genuine concern, the intentional disruption of, or damage to, space assets and systems will generally involve larger -- sometimes far larger -- geopolitical stakes. There are clear space-related risks stemming from heightened terrestrial tensions or mishaps, but an incident in space could likewise trigger a terrestrial conflict. The report argues that adding space crisis management as a key item of the broader space security agenda is required as intentional acts of disruption could jeopardize overall space stability.
Specifically, the report first reviews terrestrial crisis management models and Europe’s approach to this form of crisis management. It then compares it to the discourse on space crisis management within the space security community in Europe. The report also describes various threats to space assets, such as the Iranian jamming of Eutelsat signals. Finally, the report provides several recommendations for cooperative endeavours in this area, to bolster Europe’s institutional preparedness to manage space-related crises more effectively.
The report has benefited significantly from a workshop on “Space Crisis Management: Filling the Gaps” organized by ESPI in March 2012 (see related webnews here).