29 October 2010. Issue 40 of the "ESPI Perspectives" series examines the operational needs and reasoning for the establishment of a NATO space policy and its potential impact on European security.
In the context of the current debate on NATO’s new strategic concept, the question of the role of space for the Alliance has become an issue. In Europe, space is increasingly used as a supportive tool for providing security. In a similar vein, NATO’s “Allied Joint Doctrine for Air and Space Operations“ highlights the potential of space assets in achieving the Alliance’s security objectives. At the same time, the increasing reliance on space capabilities by the military, civil and commercial sectors also increases the likelihood of potential adversaries threatening space assets. Thus, if NATO wants to achieve the optimal level of support from space, all space capabilities and systems, as well as the means to protect them, should be integrated into future military planning. In the light of the debate on NATO’s strategic concept, the objective of this paper is twofold: first, to demonstrate the usefulness of space applications to NATO’s security objectives, drawing on the example of maritime surveillance (“space as a force enabler”); and second, to indicate the possible vulnerabilities of space applications (“space as the next high ground”) without promoting an arms race in space. Space applications cannot be left aside when discussing the Alliance’s future and Europe should take an active part in this debate, in order to safeguard its interests.
The author of this ESPI Perspective, ESPI Associate Fellow Nina-Louisa Remuss (center), moderating at the AIES/ESPI Workshop "Space and Maritime Security Strategies and Capabilities to Counter Piracy" in November 2009