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NEWS | June 14, 2022

NATO Space Centre integrates with BALTOPS22 Exercise Control, provides realistic scenarios to train participants

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Arif Patani, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

As Allies and partners in Europe continue their participation in exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 22, the NATO Space Centre remains focused on enhancing the incorporation of the Space domain into the exercise through integration with the exercise control staff.

During BALTOPS 22, French Air Force Major Cécile Stolle and U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Caitlin Diffley, from the NATO Space Centre in Ramstein, Germany, and Tech. Sgt. Braden Ferrin from U.S. Air Forces Europe, arrived at the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) headquarters in Oeiras, Portugal, to engage in the exercise scenarios and to share with and learn from other military experts participating.

“We’re really glad to be included in BALTOPS, and to be participating in a big maritime-focused exercise because the NATO Space Centre supports all NATO components and operational domains as well as NATO nations' Space requirements,” said Diffley, the NATO Space Center chief of strategy and integration. “Part of us being here is to better understand how navies operate.”

During the exercise, the Space Centre team will execute several injects, or storylines, into the exercise scenario. The injects are meant to provide participants with problem sets that they could face in real-world situations, while operating in an exercise environment. For BALTOPS 22, the team is introducing jamming response, Space weather, and impacts to GPS accuracy. The team is following up these injects by working directly with the exercise control group, as well as the units afloat, to evaluate responses and participants’ ability to develop options to mitigate the potential impact to operations.

With more than half of the active satellites orbiting the Earth belonging to NATO members or companies based on their territories, Diffley says coordination in the Space domain is critical to regional countries’ security and prosperity.

In 2019, Allies adopted the new NATO Space Policy and recognized space as an operational domain, alongside air, land, sea and cyberspace.

“Space is really unique in that we don’t have any terrestrial boarders. If something happens in space it can be dangerous for all of us. Cooperation and partnerships are significantly more important in Space because we’re all one territory,” she said.

BALTOPS 22 is the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region. The exercise, led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and executed by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, provides a unique training opportunity to strengthen the combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and Partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.