FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
When EDA’s EU Satcom Market (ESM) made its first steps in 2009, nobody seriously imagined that this project, designed to serve as a one-stop shop for quickly and easily providing participating Member States with commercially available satellite communications (Satcom) and other communication & information Services (CIS), would become one of the Agency’s most successful activities. A number is proof of that: the mark of 500 Satcom & CIS orders handled through ESM at the request of its members has just been passed!
The system is super flexible and responsive, which makes it a valuable support tool for Member States’ Armed Forces and CSDP missions and operation in times of crises and urgent deployment. Last summer, for instance, ESM provided urgent operational support to a contributing Member State for the evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan, only 7 hours after the request was made.
ESM’s roots stretch back to 2009 when it was launched as an EDA ad hoc procurement cell to test the idea of pooling demand for commercial satellite services among a small handful of EDA militaries. Five years later more of the Agency’s Member States had joined. It was then renamed and given a more formal footing as a service open to all EDA militaries, CSDP operations and missions (both military and civilian) as well as EU entities and, subject to the EDA Member States approval, third states which have an administrative arrangement signed with the Agency (currently Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine and Serbia). Today, ESM has 33 members* and the volume of its activities has been growing steadily.
Currently, on average, there is a new Satcom order coming in every 1.5 days, ranging from matters as small as shipping out a few SIM cards to the on-site deployment and assembly of a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) terminal. Procuring and setting up such services is complex and requires specific skills and experience that not every EDA Member State enjoys. Using the ESM means individual users do not have to run their own bidding processes while taking advantage of an efficient pay-per-use solution where members pay only for the ESM services ordered. The process is simple. After a customer defines its Satcom requirements with the ESM, these are communicated to the ESM contractor for a straightforward offer. If it requires CIS, this can lead to a mini competition between the ESM’s two CIS contractors to win the proposal. The ESM then checks and evaluates the order and it falls to the member to decide whether to accept it. Once an offer is approved, the ESM confirms the request for delivery.
Needless to say, speed is of the essence in this kind of business. A requirement the ESM can perfectly cope with: the ESM team’s record for setting up a satcom link – from request to actual uplink to the member state – is 72 hours!
More information on the EU Satcom Market are here and here.
*Today, the ESM counts the following 33 members (EDA Member States, EU CSDP missions & operations, and EU agencies and bodies): Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Republic of Serbia, European Peace Facility (covering all military missions and operations), EUCAP SAHEL Niger, EUCAP SAHEL Mali, EUAM Ukraine, EUCAP Somalia, EUMM Georgia, EUAM Iraq, EUBAM Libya, EUPOL COPPS, EUAM RCA, FRONTEX and the European External Action Service (EEAS).