Säpo warns of space war


Published 11 January 2022 at 12.13

Domestic. More countries see space as a possible arena for conflicts in the future and already today space is used as an intelligence arena. This was said by Security Police Chief Charlotte von Essen at the National and Defense National Conference on Tuesday.

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With space as a new arena, “foreign power” gets new opportunities, according to Säpo.

– The development affects both the intelligence threat and the security situation in Sweden, directly and indirectly. Seeing space from a total defense perspective is therefore necessary and both preparedness and knowledge need to increase. Collaboration is required to create understanding and resilience, says Security Police Chief Charlotte von Essen.

According to Säpo, a conflict in space can 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 retrieve data, Sweden has a strategic location, according to the authority's analysis.

Two of the countries that have been singled out as the biggest intelligence threat to Sweden, and which the Security Police consider to have high ambitions for their space activities, are China and Russia. For China, space is included as one of the areas it 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 increase their awareness of this.

At the end of November 2021, the Space Act Inquiry proposed that the Security Police be given a partly new assignment. This includes consultation on decisions on permits in matters concerning Sweden's security.

– The Space Act Inquiry's proposal is good 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 finds that this issue needs to be investigated further, says Charlotte von Essen.