You are taking up your new role as Head of EUROCONTROL’s Civil-Military Coordination Division on 1 October at a time when civil aviation is under tremendous pressure as a result of the pandemic. What are your priorities as you take up this new function and what do you see as the key challenges for civil-military coordination going forward?
I would first like to say that I am very proud to be joining the EUROCONTROL team. I recognise and appreciate the outstanding work that the team delivers day in, day out, to make EUROCONTROL the premier Air Traffic Management organisation in the world. Over the coming months, I am looking forward meeting all of you, to learn and better understand your requirements, the challenges you face and your ideas about how to meet those challenges. As we all recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more apparent that people and mission cannot be separated; they are integral to the delivery of the tasks that make aviation in Europe safer and more efficient, and minimise the environmental impact. As I join the team I hope to bring my extensive knowledge, broad experience, motivation and dedication to the mission.That said, I would like to offer some initial thoughts, starting with three main topics that I consider to be a priority for successful civil-military cooperation (CMC).
Firstly, bringing Air Traffic Management (ATM) in line with the Future Architecture for Airspace Management. As Europe is moving towards an open architecture, capable of enabling a seamless, flexible and scalable provision of services, the digital European sky standards will play a critical role in supporting global interoperability and worldwide harmonisation. By showing compliance with a more performance-based regulatory framework, this will enable the implementation of innovative solutions like System-Wide Information Management (SWIM), which needs to treat military data with the required levels of confidentiality.
Secondly, another area which I believe needs more attention is the use of sovereign airspace by individual nations as we transition from peace to conflict in a crisis scenario in Europe. Clear and transparent procedures within the civil-military cooperative decision-making process, as well as a new mind set, will be required to achieve interoperability across the European Nations, the European Union (EU) and NATO, and a common understanding between civil and military entities. A good avenue for improvement could be the introduction of table top exercises for relevant stakeholders, and increased participation in NATO and EU exercises.