Allies launch strategic initiatives on eve of NATO’s Washington summit
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Allies launch strategic initiatives on eve of NATO’s Washington summit

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On 9 July 2024, on the eve of the NATO summit in Washington, DC, defence ministers from 24 NATO allies signed a series of ground-breaking multi-national initiatives at the NATO Summit Defence Industry Forum.

The Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS) programme marks the largest multi-national investment in space-based capabilities in NATO’s history. The APSS programme is set to boost the alliance’s ability to monitor activities on the ground and at sea with unprecedented accuracy and timeliness. With the signing of a memorandum of understanding, APSS has now transitioned into the implementation phase in which, over the next five years, 17 allies are contributing the equivalent of more than USD 1 billion (EUR 0.92 billion) to leverage commercial and national space assets and to expand advanced exploitation capacities.

With the signing of a letter of intent for the Allied software for Cloud and Edge (ACE) services by 22 allies, a new multi-national acquisition activity will revolutionise allied operations by providing key building blocks of the Alliance-wide ‘digital backbone’. By integrating allied software solutions with cutting-edge cloud and edge computing technologies, ACE will improve operational efficiency by ensuring unified communications and enabling seamless sharing of data across land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains of operation.

Meanwhile, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed a Declaration of Cooperation on Cross-Border Airspace. The declaration will ensure that allied civil and military authorities are able to establish and use more airspace from the five participating countries for NATO training and exercises, as well as other air activities within the Nordic region. NATO’s ability to train at scale in the air domain represents a critical element of the alliance’s collective deterrence and defence posture. The use of larger volumes of national airspace by NATO requires close co-ordination and co-operation between civil and military authorities to deliver airspace solutions in a safe and flexible manner.

NATO also used its summit in Washington, DC, to celebrate the alliance’s 75th anniversary. (Photo: NATO)