Sweden warns of conflict in space with China and Russia through attack on navigation satellites

In a recent press release, Sweden’s Security Police (Sapo) chief Charlotte von Essen says that security-threatening activities are based on countries’ own strategic objectives and that Space adds a new area where foreign power gets additional opportunities.

According to Charlotte von Essen, China and Russia are the two nations which have been singled out as the biggest intelligence threats to Sweden, and those two nations are also named as having high ambitions for their space activities.

China has included space as one of the areas where the country wants to be a leader by 2049 at the latest. 

“For China and Russia, space is important from both a military and civilian perspective. The countries are also very interested in acquiring knowledge about Swedish research that contributes to the development of space. More people with activities that can be connected to space need to create increased awareness of this,” the Security Police chief says.

Charlotte von Essen explains that a conflict in space may well begin with the disruption of socially important functions by attacking a space system, such as a navigation satellite system. And for those who want to communicate with their satellites and download data, Sweden has a strategic location. 

The increased interest in space and the investments made from several states are important for Sweden’s security and need to be seen from a total defense perspective. At the end of November 2021, the Space Act Inquiry proposed that the Security Police be given a partially new assignment. This includes consultation on decisions on permits in matters concerning Sweden’s security.

“The Space Law Inquiry’s proposal is well based on looking at Sweden’s security from a broader perspective. On the other hand, the Security Police see that there is a need to go further when it comes to the question of receiving signals from space. The reason is that satellites with dual uses can be used for intelligence gathering. It is good that the inquiry states that this issue needs to be investigated further,” says Charlotte von Essen.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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