chapter  12
22 Pages

Toward a European military space architecture

ByXAVIER PASCO

Today, space activity is primarily characterized by a dramatic imbalance between spacefaring countries. Considered alone, the United States represents about 80 percent of worldwide public expenditures, while it is responsible for almost 95 percent of military spending on space.1 This difference between the relative public investments in space of the United States and the rest of the world could bring about other gaps that, if not considered in due time, could generate serious problems concerning the ability of countries to collectively analyze conflicts and conceive military actions in the years to come. Indeed, the latest evolution in space techniques and uses may change the very nature of warfare by introducing new concepts and architectures of systems used by the military forces. But more importantly, it also creates new ways of conceiving and conducting warfighting operations. The real change has to do with the connections between space and global military activity and capabilities. While crises – military or humanitarian – can erupt anytime anywhere, the application of information technology is believed to be a prerequisite for quick, adaptive, and safe responses. Some decision-makers envision an armada of space-, air-, or ground-based sensors as well as advanced command, control, and communication systems to produce the real-time and relevant information needed at any level of the chain of command. In this “information technology” infrastructure, satellite systems obviously play a crucial role.