NATO hosts working group on space
On 24th and 25th May 2023, NATO hosted the 23rd iteration of the Bi-SC Working Group on Space at its main headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium. This Working Group facilitates the exchange and information sharing on space-related issues as well as coordinate activities in the Space Domain.
Representatives from 17 Allied Nations and Sweden were briefed on the ongoing implementation of the NATO’ Space Domain, following the adoption of the 2019 Overarching Space Policy, which guides the Alliance’s approach to space and ensures the right support to its operations and missions in such areas as communications, navigation and intelligence, through an adequate space situation awareness.
The Strategic Commands, who co-chair the Working Group, provided an update on the ongoing integration of Space in NATO initiatives, including training and exercises, operational planning, capability development, as well as in its innovation efforts. In 2022 Strategic Concept, Allies agreed to “enhance our ability to operate effectively in space and cyberspace to prevent, detect, counter and respond to the full spectrum of threats, using all available tools.”
Participants were also apprised of the NATO Space Centre’s main activities. Established in 2020, at Allied Air Command in Ramstein (Germany), the Space Centre ensures that NATO commanders have access to required space data and services. The Space Centre closely follows the developments in the space security environment and supports NATO’s activities, operations and missions.
Finally, the event included an update from the NATO Space Centre of Excellence (CoE), hosted by NATO Ally France. The Space COE was conceptualized and agreed upon in October 2020 and came to life in January 2023 when the participating Nations signed the Space COE Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Centre is expected to be “NATO-accredited” this summer. The COE started working with the Strategic Commands to support the NATO Space Domain, in areas such as Education and Training, Doctrinal development, or experimentation. It will expand the scope of its activities once accredited, as its workforce will increase.
The Working Group concluded with a discussion on NATO’s innovation and capability development efforts in the Space Domain. Emerging technologies are transforming the space domain and NATO will take advantage of these developments to maintain its technological edge, namely with dedicated work strands in the NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA).