On Wednesday (12 February 2020) NATO held a ceremony to mark the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between four nations for the provision of critical satellite communications services to NATO for the next 15 years.
The memorandum between France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States enables the four Allies to provide space capacity from their military satellite communications (SATCOM) programmes to NATO. Nations began delivering the capability on 1 January 2020.
At the ceremony, the Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand said: "NATO depends on space for a wide range of activities, from intelligence gathering and navigation, to tracking forces around the globe and detecting missile launches". Adding that space is essential for the Alliance's deterrence and defence, he said that "NATO also aims to serve as a forum for political-military consultations and information sharing on relevant deterrence and defence related space developments".
Last year, NATO authorized 1 billion EUR for satellite communications (SATCOM) services for the next 15 years. The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is responsible for operating the satellite communications capability to deliver services to NATO. The NCI Agency coordinated the agreement with the service-providing Nations. This landmark agreement will provide a greater, more resilient and more flexible space capability for NATO to conduct its operations and exercises. National experts will be embedded with the NCI Agency to deliver this critical capability.