At a recent meeting of Alliance defense ministers in Brussels, officials revealed what will become the policies and objectives for NATO in space.
According to official reports, ministers approved a new “overarching space policy” that will guide NATO’s approach to space as well as the projected opportunities and challenges. “We can play an important role as a forum to share information, increase interoperability, and ensure that our missions and operations can call on the support they need,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The announcement highlights the increased focus space is getting from defense officials around the world—America’s experiment with Space Force the most sensationalized example. A substantial part of the activities of any modern military are conducted from space, from the ability to navigate and track forces, to satellite communications, and detecting missile launches. In short, space is essential to the Alliance’s defense and, in turn, its deterrence.
Secretary Stoltenberg emphasized that the new initiative for NATO in space was not about militarizing space. Rather, the goal is to maximize the space-based infrastructure that supports operations on Earth.
Despite Stoltenberg’s insistence, it may only be a matter of time before weaponized systems are deployed in orbit. As one Russian expert stated in response to the new NATO policy, the militarization of Earth’s spheres of orbit are probably a matter of time. “The U.S. is likely to become pioneers in this area,” said former Air Force official Mikhail Khodarenok, adding that “China, Russia and India” will almost certainly follow.