Security & Defence

Protecting Europe and its Values

Next to climate change related risks and natural disasters, geo-political confrontation and warfare, including technological vulnerabilities, are among the top future risks.

Military investments represent close to 50% of public investment in space globally, driving advancements with stronger industrial policies and state intervention in space solutions. Attacks are anticipated against agriculture, water, financial systems, public security, transport, energy, communication networks and space-based systems. Security of critical supplies and infrastructure and the defence domain are inseparable. Consequently, space policy needs to support future European dual-use space programmes, with research and innovation being addressed in a whole-of-Europe approach.

Space assets enable managing and decisively acting upon natural and anthropogenic crises, supporting European disaster management, civil protection, and law enforcement agencies as well as national defence stakeholders in pursuing their strategic missions.

Space-based capabilities have long been crucial enabling pillars of national and allied security and defence portfolios as also recognised by the EU Strategic Compass for Security and Defence. Yet, today’s conflicts show that space assets are becoming fundamental in shifting strategic balances on the ground, with improved availability of satellite data and services, exemplified by the war in Ukraine. Moreover, the cyber security dimension of space becomes increasingly prominent.

The policy and capability gaps in space for security and defence continue to grow in comparison to other space powers. For Europe to shape, and not be shaped by global developments, ensure international stability, preserve the security of its citizens, infrastructures and institutions and protect its values, it must accelerate the uptake of dual-use space solutions, embedding them into its security and defence doctrines, networks and processes.

ESPI’s aim is to ensure that space supports international actors in implementing the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as European and national actors through frameworks such as the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy or EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and national vulnerability and risk assessments. ESPI will reinforce its work with national, European and International stakeholders including relevant ministries, ESA, the EU SatCen, OSCE, NATO, the European Commission and the EEAS and contribute to established platforms such as EDA’s Defence in Space Forum.

In this context, ESPI will continuously support European and international endeavours in the realm of security and defence, notably through creating a forum for European space security and defence users of space solutions, undertaking activities for increased operational uptake of space solutions in security operations, focusing on future capability development and R&I, and providing insights for European in-space resilience, deterrence and arms controls in space.

ESPI research activities will facilitate:

  • A growing adoption of space solutions in disaster management and crisis.
  • An increased uptake and development of dual-use space solutions in support of European security and defence.
  • An increased recognition of the added value of space in European, national and international security and defence.
  • The coordination between R&I agencies and military and security actors with boots on the ground.
  • The support to the operationalisation of military space doctrine in Europe and full recognition of in-space security at the policy level.
  • The security of the industrial supply chain, space operations and ground infrastructure.
  • The support of the work of the UN and other multilateral fora to keep space safe and secure.

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