Catherine Ashton visits EU Satellite Centre

 Helios 2b satellite  ©CNES/Mira productions Helios 2b satellite ©CNES/Mira productions

On 13 June 2013 High Representative Catherine Ashton is visiting the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) – an EU Agency based in Torrejón de Ardoz near Madrid.

The High Representative will be received by the Satellite Centre’s Director Tomaž Lovrenčič and will meet with SatCen space and security specialists. She will be briefed on products and services for the analysis of satellite imagery, in particular on the on-going geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) as a support element of the missions and operations of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). She will also be briefed on support to humanitarian aid within the Copernicus project.

The agency operates under the political supervision of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and the direction of the HR/VP. It produces a majority of the geospatial intelligence provided to the EEAS, analyses satellite imagery and collateral data for the High Representative, the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen), the EU Military Staff, the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) and various CSDP missions. The Centre’s users also include EU member states, the Commission, NATO member states which are not EU members, as well as candidates for EU accession) and international organisations such as the United Nations. SatCen also offers specialised training to image analysts within the Centre and from member states.

The SatCen's work exclusively concerns regions outside of the EU borders. It provides early warning of potential crises to decision makers in order to enable timely diplomatic, economic and humanitarian measures, including the generic planning for and follow-up after an intervention. Apart from the SatCen’s role within the CSDP, the Centre’s activities also support: arms control; non-proliferation and treaty verification; counter terrorism; humanitarian aid missions; contingency planning of peacekeeping missions; counter crime and general security surveillance.

The SatCen cooperates with national and international institutions in the field of space and works closely with the European Defence Agency, the European Commission and the European Space Agency.

Tasking of the SatCen has increased substantially in the last years as a consequence of the growing number of CSDP missions and operations, and of the ongoing crises in North Africa and the Middle East.