NATO decided to extend the principles of collective defense to outer space

January 18, 2022, – NATO decided to extend the principles of collective defense to outer space, including the application of the fifth article of the Washington Treaty, which includes, among other things, a collective military response to an attack on one of the Alliance’s countries. This is stated in the published NATO Comprehensive Space Policy, reports TASS.

“At the Brussels 2021 Summit, the Allies agreed that attacks in space, from space <...> poses a clear challenge to the security of the North Atlantic Alliance, the consequences of which could threaten national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security and stability and could be equally detrimental to modern societies, as well as a conventional attack. Such attacks may lead to the application of the fifth article [устава NATO] (on collective defense – ed.). The decision on when such attacks will result in the application of Article 5 will be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case – by – case basis.

The document emphasizes that NATO intends to integrate space into the Alliance’s collective security and defense systems, together with cyberspace, as well as the sea, air and land environment. “Space is a global environment. Every conflict that spreads in space can affect all users of this space. Even in cases where NATO is not involved in the conflict, allied space systems can be affected,” it says.

At the same time, NATO notes that the Alliance’s activities in space will be carried out within the framework of international law. “Free access, exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes lie in the common interest of the entire global community. NATO and its allies will carry out their activities in the interest of maintaining peace and security and promoting international cooperation,” it said.

The strategy also states that NATO does not intend to become “an autonomous player in space”. “NATO is not striving to become an autonomous player in space. NATO will coordinate Allied activities, interact with relevant international organizations, including the UN and the EU,” the alliance emphasized.

NATO’s space policy will be one of the main topics at the Alliance’s Summit in Madrid in June 2022. As expected, this issue will be reflected in the new NATO concept, which must be approved at the forthcoming meeting with the leaders of the Alliance countries.

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