Space is essential to NATO’s defence and deterrence
The NATO Military Committee’s meeting on 14 October 2019 was dedicated to space with a briefing by General John Raymond, Commander of the newly re-established US Space Command.
The Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Scott Kindsvater started the meeting by introducing NATO’s approach to space, highlighting NATO’s newly agreed space policy: “In June this year, Defence Ministers agreed NATO’s first-ever space policy. They recognized that space is part of our daily lives, and while it can be used for peaceful purposes, it can also be used for aggression. Satellites can be hacked, jammed, or weaponised. Anti-satellite weapons could cripple communications. It is therefore important that we are vigilant and resilient – also in space”.
The Deputy Chairman then passed the floor to General John Raymond, Commander of the US Space Command who provided a detailed briefing on ongoing activities. The United States had a Space Command from 1985 until 2002 when it was dissolved. The command was re-established in August and will focus on the protection of US space assets and strengthen the military’s posture in space. “Space has become a vital domain that is critical to the nation’s security and economy and is no longer a benign environment. Though this command we will get better space intelligence by working more closely with foreign allies, with the US intelligence community and with commercial companies. Our goal is to deter conflict but we need to be ready if deterrence fails”, explained General Raymond.
Lieutenant General Scott Kindsvater then concluded the session by adding that “NATO doesn’t want to militarize space, this is about playing 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, even in space”.