The militarization of space policy – The EU and beyond

Date: 28-29 October, 2020
Convener: Space Policy Research Group: Thomas Hoerber (ESSCA EU-Asia Institute) and Iraklis Oikonomou (independent researcher)
Venue: ESSCA – School of Management, Campus of Aix-en-Provence

The end of the Cold War largely removed space from debates on security and defence, as the arms race between the two superpowers – with space being one of the key venues of this race – ended abruptly. However, all hopes for a strictly peaceful use of space dissipated, as a new competition for dominance in space quickly kicked off, with major powers reorienting their space policies in an attempt to benefit strategically from the use of space systems for security and military purposes. The EU and key member-states have increasingly joined the US, China and Russia, among others, in regarding space assets as critical military – but also economic, industrial and technological – enablers.

How can this trend towards space militarisation be empirically documented and theoretically analysed? What interests, ideas and institutions are involved in its making in the EU and beyond? How is the drive towards increased military use of space being promoted politically, facilitated industrially, and legitimised discursively?

We are particularly interested in papers shedding light on the military aspects of EU space policy, with special emphasis on the security and defence dimensions of projects such as Galileo, Copernicus, Space Situational Awareness, and Satellite Communication. In this context, we invite contributors to shed light on the empirical aspect of developments, including the role of different actors (European Commission; European Space Agency; European Defence Agency; space industry etc.). The analysis of international collaborative projects and the involvement of specific member-states such as France, Germany, Italy etc. is also welcome. Also, papers analyzing the discursive, ideological, normative and, in general, theoretical foundations of the use of space by the EU for strategic purposes are much desired – especially those drawing on a specific paradigm of European integration / International Relations theory. Last but not least, we very much appreciate the submission of papers studying initiatives outside the EU, by key global space players such as the US, China, Russia, and India, as well as by more regional players.

The workshop is an interdisciplinary meeting point of researchers from various fields and at all levels of the academia, from postgraduate students and doctoral candidates to seasoned scholars; practitioners in the field are welcome to submit too.

Some travel funding may become available if no departmental money is obtainable for your trip. Please indicate if you wish to apply for funding too.

Please send an abstract of 150-200 words to Dr. Thomas Hoerber ( and Dr. Iraklis Oikonomou (

Deadline: Friday, 28 August, 2020

You will be notified if your application has been successful two weeks later, at the latest.
There are no registration fees for this workshop. Venue, lunch and coffee breaks will be covered by ESSCA.

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