If there’s something strange in your neighborhood that’s not a ghost but a UFO … and the line is busy at the Space Force … who are you gonna call? How about NATO? Yes, that’s the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the North Atlantic isn’t in space, but NATO recently released what it calls its “overarching Space Policy” and, coupled with its “an attack on one is an attack on all” basic principle, may be its first step in the direction of space … and space wars.
While that line of ‘D’ words sounds like NATO is preparing for a new kind of war in space, Air Force Magazine, which knows the US Air Force obviously has an interest in what NATO is planning in space, sees the policy outlining NATO’s role as serving as a forum for defense-related space developments and a place to facilitate compatibility and interoperability between space services, products, and capabilities amongst the Allies. That sounds like an appropriate role for NATO, but then the “overarch” arches over the inevitable.“The Alliance should develop a common understanding of concepts such as the role of space in crisis or conflict; As part of the effort to increase the readiness and ability of the Alliance to operate decisively across all operational domains (land, maritime, air and cyber), due consideration will need to be given to the role of space as a key enabler for operational domains, as well as for NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence, and, for Allies concerned, nuclear deterrence.”
NATO sees itself as the next line of defense when “space support in operations is degraded, denied or disrupted” and wants to be involved in “ways to better exploit scientific, research and technological capacity” in order “to meet the Alliance’s political and military objectives” in space.
While the focus of this policy statement is primarily on defending its members — two North American countries, 27 European countries, and one Eurasian country – from space attacks by Russia, China or other non-member nations, it fails to address the space elephant in the room – attacks by non-Earth entities. It’s interesting that this NATO policy arrives so close behind the Pentagon’s new department addressing unidentified aerial phenomena yet does not mention UAPs at all. Is it deferring that defense to the U.S. and its Space Force? Or does NATO not recognize the possibility (or reality) that some UFOs are extraterrestrial?
Could NATO be making the mistake of addressing war in space the same way it has addressed war on Earth? Only time will tell.