Over the past two decades, the European Union (EU) has intensely recalibrated its strategies to fulfil its mission of promoting peace and security and guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, freedoms, human rights, and equality to its citizens. Given the increase in non-conventional threats in the cyber, hybrid, and “cybrid” domains, the EU has started to strengthen its response to this changing security environment. In this context, technological change has become the main character in a society whose governments, economies, people, and armies are highly dependent on hyper-connectivity and impacted by it. The technological transition has transformed how enemies attack their counterparts, fostering digital rivalries and tighter industry competition. To this end, the Union has recently launched the EU’s Secure Connectivity Programme (2023-2027), which encloses the third EU constellation of strategic space infrastructures called IRIS2. The latter, inter alia, has been designed to foster strategic autonomy in the Union, thereby reducing foreign dependencies. It is fundamental for the Union to enhance its ability to respond and counter cyber challenges with a comprehensive and collaborative approach, as individual and protectionist actions from the Member States obstruct the achievement of a higher degree of strategic autonomy in the technological and defence arenas.
Space control is becoming increasingly important. What until now has been one of the most peaceful areas of international collaboration, despite the fierce competition for technological progress, is beginning to become an area of conflict. The consequences of the events in Ukraine, and the sanctions imposed in response to them, are also having repercussions in this field.
In the light of an increasing involvement of EU Member States’ armies on the international stage, the necessity of interoperability has never been more important. Indeed, many critical missions are conducted BOTH in Europe and overseas. These missions rely on secure communication networks for the EU, which are currently fundamentally lacking in certain areas of intervention.