NATO depends greatly on space capabilities to achieve its political aims. While the Alliance has yet to fully come to grips with the implications of its reliance on space capabilities, there are signs pointing to improved orchestration, defence and employment of NATO space capabilities. The most important of these could be efforts to formalise the NATO Space Integrated Project Team (IPT) led by Allied Command Transformation.
A task force of nine NATO nations and Australia (BLUE) battled a combination of terrorists, pirates and affiliated third parties (RED) during the world’s premier space and cyberspace wargame conducted by U.S. Air Force Space Command and hosted by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. Set in 2023, Schriever Wargame 2012 International (SW 12 International) offered NATO an unprecedented opportunity to explore combined space operations within a NATO construct.
Logistics is of vital importance to any military operation. Without it, operations cannot be carried out or sustained. Most operations start at home base and use a combination of strategic, operational and tactical movement to move forward into the Area of Operations (AOO). The greater the scope and the size of the operation, theoretically, the greater the reliance on Movement and Transportation (M&T) and logistics resources for deployment, sustainment and redeployment. The Logistics effort for Operation Unified Protector (OUP) appeared to succeed, but has NATO missed an opportunity?
Employing Air and Space power is founded on the ability to build up a strong awareness of the environment and of all related human limits; this is the only way to reach a full consciousness and a correct comprehensive approach. This is especially true for Space Power which is still seen as far away from daily life.
In recent years, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have increasingly become a feature of modern conflict, their ease of production using locally-available materials and deployment via support networks providing adversaries, unable to compete on conventional terms, with an inexpensive and effective weapon system. It is therefore unsurprising that addressing the generic IED threat has become a priority for NATO, and is likely to remain so in the conduct of Alliance operations across the spectrum of conflict into the future.
Over the next five to seven years, NATO will see a tremendous increase in its use of UAS on the European continent and in combat areas such as Afghanistan. While the latter is generally not an issue because the airspace is controlled by the military, the former is the real challenge. Therefore, this article will present the current status of UAS integration into the European NAS.