The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) is heavily involved in all NATO matters related to space. As NATO's premiere technology and capability deliverer, the Agency continues to play a significant role in enabling space technology and delivering satellite communications to NATO missions and operations.
Over 160 NCI Agency experts support space for the Alliance. The newly formed Space Technology Adoption and Resilience division, or STAR, leverages the power of new sensors, constellations and automation technologies, and integrates them with NATO's existing technologies and processes.
The Agency leverages innovative technology and collaborative partnerships with industry, operating seven satellite ground stations and a SATCOM centre to enable seamless and secure communication channels for command centres and deployed forces across the Alliance.
Moreover, the NCI Agency, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and NATO Headquarters are leading the Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS) under the management of the Agency. APSS was initially launched with the funding support of Luxembourg and has the joining intent of 18 other NATO Nations. The aim is to enhance NATO's situational awareness and decision-making, through the establishment of a virtual constellation and the integration of timely, persistent and relevant data and services from space. This will significantly improve NATO's intelligence and surveillance capabilities, and provide essential support to missions and operations.
The NCI Agency also supports a number of space related activities, including satellite communications (SATCOM), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) and meteorology and oceanography (METOC).
The NCI Agency has a long lasting history with SATCOM, which NATO has been using since the 1960s. As a crucial provider and a centrepiece of coordination of this capability, it focuses on guaranteeing the provision of SATCOM services to all NATO Nations for a number of applications and increasing the resilience of SATCOM services, counter jamming and operations in degraded environments.
In the context of ISR, the NCI Agency is responsible for managing, delivering and creating a substantial amount of services that NATO and Allies use. ISR sees a significant number of activities related to the use of new and emerging technologies. The Agency looks at the use of more advanced space based sensors and as well as the application of artificial intelligence, and combining data from different sources.