NATO changed its rules on Monday to include space strikes in its joint defense policy.
Section 5 of the founding agreement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization establishes that an attack on one of its members is an attack on all. Until now, this has mainly included traditional attacks from the air, land or sea or more recently from cyberspace.
But in a statement attached to this week’s summit, the coalition made it clear that it considers any of its 30 members a “threat, from space or attacks” as a potential threat.
Such attacks “threaten national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security and stability, and could be as damaging as a regular attack on a modern society,” the organization added.
Such attacks could lead to a call to Section 5. The decision on when to implement Section 5 of such an attack will be made in the context of the case of the North Atlantic Council, ”he added.
There are about 2,000 satellites orbiting the earth, more than half of which belong to NATO member states, allowing all kinds of services, from cell phones to ATMs and weather forecasts. It is up to the military to navigate, communicate, share intelligence or detect missile launches.
In December 2019, NATO Space announced its “Fifth Theater of Operations” after land, sea, air and cyberspace. Many members have expressed concern about China and Russia’s space operations.
Some 80 countries have satellites, and private companies are also going into business. In the 1980s, part of NATO communications was by satellite. Today it is at least 40%. During the Cold War, NATO had more than 20 stations, but new technologies would allow it to double its number to one-fifth.
NATO’s mutual defense rule has been implemented only once: after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.
Former US President Donald Trump has raised fears in countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland bordering Russia, pointing out that the US will not protect them. Incumbent President Joe Biden is trying to alleviate those concerns.