Reference : In pursuit of the best standards: what material and legal interoperability for NATO f...
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In pursuit of the best standards: what material and legal interoperability for NATO forces?
Zarkan, Laetitia mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Department of Law (DL) >]
NATO Legal Gazette
Legal Aspects of Space: NATO Perspectives
[en] space ; nato ; interoperability
[en] In the wake of the increasing development and use of space systems, alliances and partnerships appear to be the solution for minimising the risk of harmful interferences, reducing costs, and further apply advancement in new technologies. The military uses space systems to support a wide range of activities such as intelligence gathering, telecommunications, tracking, positioning, navigation, and early warnings to detect ballistic missile launches.

Interoperability is bringing under the spotlight the disparities between technologically advanced and less-advanced States. Only a few States are able to produce and access space technologies individually and subsequently determine the standards and operational parameters. The utilisation of space systems requires like-minded operators who collectively agree on the same idea of norms of behaviours, threat characterisation, and thresholds for interference.

This article critically engages with the idea that interoperability poses legal problems and an unfair burden on the less developed members of the Alliance. This article presents a two-fold analysis of interoperability challenges in utilising space equipment, with particular attention to joint responsibility during hostilities.

Ensuring space systems' functionality appears necessary to preserve the operational effectiveness of the space infrastructure used by different operators. In turn, this entails the existence of interoperable systems and compliance with standards and regulations unilaterally set by the most technologically advanced States and sometimes not collectively agreed or developed.

If allies want to operate the same equipment, they need to thwart compatibility issues from both a technical and legal perspective. In focusing on a small number of technologically advanced States to fix the interoperability standards, other States are deprived of a certain degree of autonomy and protection as they will have to share proprietary information. Moreover, less developed States are not able to fully control their operations or decide their responsibility for joint activities.

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