By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, said yesterday that the Nigerian Military would utilize space technology in security the country’s territorial interest.
Olonisakin said the integration of space capabilities into the various military functions would give the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies an array of technological capabilities with multitude of effects to gain battle ground superiority against adversaries.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Defence Space Administration Office Complex and the Foundation Laying of Defence Cyber Operations Centre, at Obasanjo Space Centre, Abuja, yesterday, Olonisakin insisted that time had come for Nigeria to explore the space technology in the defence of its territorial interests in view of the changes in international and regional security.
“Given the changes in the international and regional security and geo politics of outer space, over the past two decades, there’s no disputing the need for Nigeria to utilize space capacities for securing her terrorial interest, “he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, who noted that Nigeria was being faced with many internal and external ecurity challenges including cross border terrorism, ethnic crisis, armed banditory, crude oil theft, kidnapping and other criminal activities, said the commissioning of the Defence Space Administration Office was “another testimony to our determination to provide added capability to the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the performance of its constitutional roles.”
While noting that the” security of our people and by extension are national interest”, the Nigerian Defence chief added:”In view of the increasing utilization of defence space system for security purposes, the formation of a dedicated defence space establishment in Nigeria seems a logical step.”
He said the defence space establishment was not just that of adding theatre capability via space assets to the Armed Forces, but about developing a multi dimensional approach to using outer space for strategic purposes.
“The integration of space capabilities into the various military functions would give the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies an array of technological capabilities with multitude of effects on speed, accuracy, recession of information collection, strategic planning, decision making and integration of technology to gain battle ground superiority across the different forces and platforms, “he insisted.
Other identified benefits of the space technology, according to him, were in the areas of signal intelligence, navigational capabilities, battle field situation nay awareness, surveillance and communication capabilities.
Speaking further, he said it was pertinent to state that” cyber space technology which is part of Defence Space Administration mandate, has emerged as an instrument of power in society and it is becoming more available to a country’s adversary who may use it to attack, degrade and destroy communication and the flow of information.”
“Furthermore, the global range of cyber space and its disregard for national borders will challenge legal system and complicate a nation’s abilities to deter threats and respond to contingencies.
” Therefore, the establishment of Defence Space Administration is not out of place but in line with modern global best practices to be able to function effectively in a multi dimensional battle field, “he noted.
The newly commissioned Defence Space Administration has 74 spacious and fully equipped offices, four research laboratories, a conference room and other amenities.
He also regretted that cyber security threat have also become important security challenge that many nations were contending with.
“All these call for a huge defence space requirement and the need for integration of space technology for military applications, “he said.
He recalled that over the years, space technology has exerted profound influence on buman society, noting that during the Cold War era, space technology was arguably an exclusive preserve of the super powers as several satellites were launched into orbit to enhance their military capabilities.
“Since then, space and its items are regarded as critical elements of strategic elements of national infrastructures.
“In recognition of this, the federal government of Nigeria approved the National Space Policy and Programme in May 2001 as a guide for the use of space for national development and security, “he said.