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The Space Dimension of the ESDP

The Space Dimension of the ESDP

Recommendation 755 on the space dimension of the European Security and Defence Policy.  Report (Document A/1881) submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee by Mr Gubert, Rapporteur (Italy, Federated Group). Source: WEU, Paris, November 30, 2004.

        The Assembly,

  1. Noting that recent international crises have shown that space systems play a key role in situation assessment and in ensuring the effectiveness of the forces engaged;

  2. Considering that it is not possible to guarantee the autonomy of the ESDP in the longer term without a comprehensive space component including ground stations and space-based systems, satellite data-processing centres and all-weather observation, communications and navigation satellites;

  3. Considering that the only way for Europe to begin closing the technological gap between it and the United States as regards network-centred capabilities - and in particular intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities (ISTAR) − is to make a substantial financial, research and industrial investment and develop a European defence space capability to be used by the ESDP and by NATO;

  4. Stressing the growing trend of integrating modern weapons systems − aircraft, unmanned observation and combat vehicles, robotised and autonomous systems, command and control (C2) ground, air and sea systems − through interdependent networks handling an increasing flow of computer, audio and video data;

  5. Considering that space-based assets, particularly observation and communications satellites, are essential for those defence networks to operate correctly and effectively;

  6. Regretting that European cooperation in the field of defence space capabilities is still suffering from duplication of effort and the fragmentation of financial and technical resources invested in projects which, though useful, have a very limited scope in terms of what they actually achieve, notwithstanding all the research, technological and development work and defence tests carried out;

  7. Taking the view that it will not be possible for the European defence industrial and technological base (EDITB) to develop its full potential and be competitive internationally in leading-edge and added value defence technologies without a proper space component;

  8. Welcoming the launch of Europe's dual-use Galileo (satellite navigation) and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programmes and fully supporting its declared resolve to maintain an autonomous satellite launch capability;

  9. Deeming that the European Defence Agency should give priority, in the framework of its remit, to space programmes and related technologies in close coordination with the relevant European Capability Action Plan (ECAP) project group and in cooperation with the EU Military Staff, which consults national experts and representatives of the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD);

  10. Noting the declared resolve of the European Union member states to acquire enhanced political and military capabilities for international crisis management and the conduct of Petersberg tasks;

  11. Welcoming the recent decisions of the European Council to give the EU a rapid reaction capability for international military crisis management missions, in particular through the creation of battle groups consisting of 1500 troops ready to be deployed at very short notice;

  12. Underlining NATO's efforts to make the troops at its disposal more dynamic by setting up the NATO Response Force (NRF), a high-tech, rapid reaction force;

  13. Convinced that if these two initiatives are to succeed, they must fulfil very high intelligence and data-processing criteria which require, among other things, C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and recourse to space-based observation and communications systems;

  14. Considering that the only way in which these requirements can be met effectively, in view of the scale of all the economic, defence, industrial and technological challenges involved, is through enhanced European cooperation;

  15. Taking the view that this issue should be the subject of a broad discussion not only between governments and industry but also with the national parliaments which vote the relevant budgets, so as to obtain the support and approval of European voters and tax-payers,

         RECOMMENDS that the Council request the WEU member states to endeavour within the EU framework to:

  1. Establish without delay a close link between the European Defence Agency, which should have its own "space" division, and the European Space Agency in order to deal with the specific requirements of space-based systems for the ESDP;

  2. Develop a policy of interoperability and of exchanging capacities between existing European space-based observation and telecommunications systems;

  3. Improve the responsiveness of the EU Satellite Centre (Torrejón) by giving it a proper military cell;

  4. Study how space-based observation systems can be used for border surveillance, especially in maritime zones, in order to prevent illegal immigration and drug trafficking;

  5. Energetically support the Galileo system and, more particularly, define what services it is expected to provide for the ESDP, and set up the funding needed for the PRS (Public Regulated Service);

  6. Establish a policy for the long-term preservation of Europe's autonomous satellite launch capability;

  7. Support efforts to develop European cooperation on space systems, in particular through the technology demonstrator programmes under way (electronic surveillance, early warning, laser links, etc.);

  8. Develop these space system programmes for the ESDP with a view to giving the European Union the instruments it needs to obtain autonomously information that will form the basis for political decisions in a crisis, in accordance with the Headline Goal 2010.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).