The European Defence Agency (EDA) is developing its cooperation with CSDP civilian Missions in the field of Satellite Communications (Satcom).
Since early June, the civilian Mission EUCAP SAHEL Mali in Bamako which aims at supporting the internal security forces in the country, is taking advantage of a Framework Contract established between Airbus Defence and Space and the EDA to cover its requirement for SatCom services.
In concrete terms, this allows the Mission to benefit from a strategic satellite link between Mali and Europe. The services provided by Airbus Defence and Space include the rental, shipping, and installation of a C-band remote satellite communications terminal in Bamako, high data rate satellite bandwidth and anchoring in Europe. The services also include training of Mission personnel, 24/7 technical support and on site-intervention if required. In addition, the Mission is also provided with mobile satellite services to include e.g. a number of satellite phone subscriptions to cover the communication needs for Mission personnel moving around in the country.
EDA’s Chief Executive, Jorge Domecq, welcomed this first use of EDA EU SatCom Market contract by a civilian CSDP Mission as “a concrete example of how the European Defence Agency and CSDP civilian missions can develop cooperation to make best use of resources”. Mr Domecq also said he was confident that other EU entities will make use of the extensive support the Agency can provide in this domain, thus further increasing the pooling effect and reducing costs for the benefit of all EU SatCom Market members.
CSDP civilian Missions EUCAP SAHEL Niger and EUAM Ukraine have also ordered similar services to be provided in their theatres of operation.
The establishment of this satellite link is the result of extensive discussions to develop cooperation between the Agency and the relevant services in the European External Action Service (EEAS), especially the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) directorate and the Service for Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI).
The EEAS Civilian Operations Commander, Kenneth Deane, stated: “I very much welcome the possibility offered to civilian CSDP Missions to make use of the services provided through the EU SatCom Market Project. I am confident this will ensure best value for money and effectively help deployment and development of the CSDP civilian Missions in line with the relevant conclusions of the European Council.”
The head of the EUCAP SAHEL Mali mission, Albrecht Conze (Germany), said he was “very happy about the fact that, thanks to the hard and dedicated work done by Mission CIS experts, the EDA and the contractor Airbus Defence & Space, the Mission now has a stable strategic SatCom link to Europe as well as all the other satellite communication services the mission needs.”
EUCAP SAHEL Mali
The EUCAP SAHEL Mali civilian Mission, launched on 15 January 2015 at the invitation of the Malian government, is an important element of the regional approach taken in the European Union strategy for security and development in the Sahel.
In addition to the action already taken in Mali by the EUTM Mission providing support to the Malian armed forces and by the European Union Delegation, and in connection with EUCAP SAHEL Niger, the EUCAP SAHEL Mali Mission is helping the Malian government with the reform of its internal security forces (ISF) to enable them to provide more security and justice for Malians.
EUCAP Sahel Mali is dedicated to supporting the Malian authorities' commitment to restructuring their defence and security forces.
EU SatCom Market
Within the EU SatCom Market project, the EDA acts as the central purchasing body on behalf of the contributing members. It purchases the services from a commercial provider. The project uses a ‘pay-per-use’ model, so members do not have to contribute with regular fees; instead they only pay for what they order. Since May 2013, 38 orders have been passed for a total value of over €6.2 million with more orders planned. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom, Serbia, the Athena Mechanism, EUCAP SAHEL Niger, EUCAP SAHEL Mali, EUAM Ukraine, EUCAP NESTOR in Somalia and EUMM Georgia are the 18 members of the project.