Visit of H.E. Charles Fries DSG CSDP-CR to SatCen
On 23 September 2021, SatCen was delighted to welcome H.E. Ambassador Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary-General in charge of the Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response (CSDP-CR). His Excellency was greeted by SatCen Director Sorin Ducaru, Deputy Director Louis Tillier and a team of expert staff.
The visit served as an opportunity to shed light on the Centre’s activities, but also on what makes it an important autonomous resource for the European Union. In a short briefing about the Centre, Director Ducaru discussed SatCen’s comprehensive mission of supporting the decision-making and actions of the European Union in CFSP/CSDP and highlighted the value of autonomous awareness the Agency provides for foreign policy decision making. Additionally, Director Ducaru illustrated SatCen’s contribution to all four baskets of the upcoming Strategic Compass: Crisis Management, Resilience, Partnerships and Capability Development.
SatCen’s road ahead was presented in the context of a growing level of ambition for Space, security and defence, combined with increasing user demand and a leveraging of cutting-edge technologies for operational benefits.
Mr Álvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, also briefed Mr Fries and his delegation on the operational work performed by SatCen, specifically concerning the key threats outlined by the Strategic Compass. In this regard, Mr Rodríguez displayed operational examples relating to Challenges by State Actors, Conflicts in our Neighborhood, through SatCen’s support to EU NAVFOR IRINI, Threats by Non-State Actors, exemplified by the Centre’s support to EU missions like NAVFOR ATALANTA and lastly, operational analysis concerning Global and Regional Threats.
Mr Fries was able to deep dive into relevant issues by walking through SatCen’s Operations room and receiving specific briefings by analysts at their workstations. The dignitaries not only witnessed firsthand the type of work performed by the Centre, but also, the innovative technology deployed by the IT department, and used by analysts in their daily work.
Under this backdrop and with IT development as a key enabler for SatCen’s work, Mr Alexis Letulier, Head of IT, discussed the development of tools for both training and operational purposes. Mr Letulier provided concrete examples of the tools cultivated in-house –from recognition to data management and operational AI- and demonstrated how these tools empower analysts to perform their work more efficiently.
Working under an operational crossover, SatCen acts as the European Union’s eyes on the ground, through its core mission of geospatial analysis, and Europe’s eyes in the skies, through SatCen’s unique role as EU SST Front Desk. Mr Joao Alves, Head of SSA/SST discussed SatCen’s involvement in the EU Space Programme through the Copernicus Programme and SST, highlighting the current nature of space as being both congested and contested. In this context, he exemplified current and relevant examples of SST services including collision avoidance, re-entry analysis and fragmentation analysis. Mr Alves concluded with a discussion on future perspectives and an expectation to provide continuity to this function due to the Centre’s strong relationship with Member States and long-standing experience and expertise in both space and security.
Upon concluding the visit, Mr Fries stated,
“Thank you for this fascinating visit of SatCen. Congratulations to all the team working for SatCen and for the Strategic Autonomy of the European Union and its Member States”. – Charles Fries