National Military Space Operations Centres

Requirements on National Centres with Respect to NATO Needs

By Lieutenant Colonel

By Lt Col

 Heiner

 Grest

, GE

 AF

Joint Air Power Competence Centre

Published:
 August 2022

NATO does not have space-based resources of its own; however, the organization is heavily and increasingly dependent on space data, products and services to conduct military operations, missions and other activities, as well as executing training and exercises. Several NATO member nations operate satellites, which provide such needed capabilities. However, these assets are operated under national Command and Control (C2), and nations are not willing to place them under NATO C2 and NATO is not aiming to become an autonomous space actor with assets of its own. On the other hand, some space-faring allies are able to offer and provide data, products and services to NATO on a voluntary basis. As a result, NATO is totally reliant on external sources in the space domain, especially on its member nation’s, willingness to share and the supply of commercial providers.

To guarantee the process of exchanging data, products and services, some mechanisms and regulations have to be in effect. The purpose of this report is to set out the framework conditions for a National Military Space Operations Centre and outline the conditions for the needed exchange mechanism to assure continuous space support in line with NATO’s needs.

This study will focus on requirements for information in NATO’s newest Operational Domain ‘Space’ and will form a basis for defining generic structures as well as procedures for future (or) planned national Space Operation Centres of NATO member nations as the potential national focal point of space-based information.

Among many sources, this publication is based on data collected by a JAPCC questionnaire from member nations of NATO, which are summarized here in Annex E. These findings are also used in the JAPCC publication ‘Resiliency in Space as a Combined Challenge for NATO’, published in August 2021, so that both publications can be read in context at the time of writing.

I invite you and your staff to read this study. We welcome thoughtful insights and comments from our readers. In this regard, feel free to contact the Space Branch via e-mail at .

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Author
Lieutenant Colonel
 Heiner
 Grest
Joint Air Power Competence Centre

Lieutenant Colonel Heiner Grest is currently the acting Branch Head of JAPCC’s 2020 established Space Branch. He began his military career in 1982 as a conscript. Throughout his career, he has been working in various command and staff positions in Ground-Based Air and Missile Defence and diverse national staff positions. He was deployed to the NATO mission in Afghanistan at ISAF HQ. He holds a diploma in Business Administration from the Bundeswehr University Hamburg.

Information provided is current as of July 2022

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