Visit of the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator to SatCen

On 11 June 2021, SatCen had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator (Council of the European Union). Mr de Kerchove was accompanied by representatives of the European Commission in Spain, specifically, the newly appointed Head of Representation, Ms María de los Ángeles Benítez Salas and Mr Jochen Müller, Deputy Head of Representation.


SatCen Director Sorin Ducaru, Deputy Director Giuseppe D’Amico, and a team of experts welcomed the delegation. The visit presented an opportunity to highlight the work of the Centre, focusing on SatCen’s ability to support counter-terrorism activities.


In a comprehensive overview, Ambassador Ducaru discussed the Centre’s unique position as Europe’s “eyes on the ground”, through its core mission of geospatial analysis, and its support to the EU “eyes in space”, through its role as EU SST Front Desk. Furthermore, Mr Ducaru emphasized SatCen’s involvement in crisis management through its support to humanitarian aid, EU Missions and Operations, support to Frontex and International Organizations such as the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).


Mr Alvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, provided a detailed overview of the Centre’s operational activities focusing on selected subjects of interest, and the possible counter-terrorism applications of Geospatial Intelligence. While describing the implications of GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence) and IMINT (Imagery Intelligence), Mr Rodríguez highlighted SatCen’s ability to support counter-terrorism activities.


Mr Alexis Letulier, Head of the IT Division, illustrated the integration of operational analysis with IT development and services, displaying how operational Artificial Intelligence can empower analysts to conduct their empower imagery experts to conduct their analysis work more efficiently. Mr Letulier discussed the need to go beyond satellite imagery through the complementarities of collateral data such as radar, webcams, and Open Source to further enrich imagery analysis.


Mr Daniel García, Project Manager of SSA Unit introduced SatCen’s unique role as EU SST Front Desk. Mr Garía described the implications of this specific function, from providing the user interface to the delivery of specialized SST services of collision avoidance, fragmentation analysis and re-entry prediction. He exemplified the work of the Centre as Front Desk by illustrating recent monitoring campaigns.


The delegation showed an active interest in the different activities related to the Centre and recognized the Centre’s unique capabilities and importance for EU strategic autonomy. Ms María de los Ángeles Benítez Salas: “My thanks and admiration for the work of SatCen, its important contribution to the policies and activities of the European Union and its Member States (...)”.



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    Image1 of 4Visit of the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator to SatCen
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    Image2 of 4Discussing SatCen's mission and activities
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    Image3 of 4SatCen Director Sorin Ducaru providing a general overview of the Centre
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    Image4 of 4Alvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, providing an operational overview and possible support to counter-terrorism efforts