NATO on January 17th published a new space policy document that with a great deal of bureaucratic blather essentially says that space is important, NATO’s enemies threaten those assets, and NATO recognizes these facts.
You can read the full document here.
This is obviously a policy document so we should not expect it to lay out proposed or planned operational projects. At the same time, it is so filled with generalizations it really says very little. In a sense, the blather is designed to hide how little it says, besides the very obvious or the most common sense goals, such as for example making sure the equipment of all of NATO’s partners is compatible with each other. To give you a flavor, here is one quote:
NATO will identify and, if necessary, develop appropriate mechanisms, based on voluntary participation, to fulfil and sustain requirements for space support in NATO operations, missions and other activities in the above functional areas. Allies’ capabilities, and, if necessary, trusted commercial service providers, should be leveraged to meet these requirements in the most secure, efficient, effective and transparent manner.
In plain English, NATO wants the cooperation of both private and government space entities to make sure it can function fully in space. As I said, stating the obvious.
The language actually tells us more about the foggy and inefficient thinking among DC and Pentagon bureaucrats. They can’t write clearly because they really don’t think clearly.
Still, the policy outlined essentially commits NATO to support a thriving infrastructure in space, from both the private and governmental sectors. The policy’s strong apparent support for “voluntary” private space is especially encouraging.
The policy’s position against aggressive actions by others, such as Russia and China, is also somewhat encouraging, though its expression in such mealy-mouth language suggests a fundamental lack of commitment that could be worrisome. Russia’s response to this new policy statement was not so vaguely put:
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova took NATO to task over its space policy paper at a briefing on Thursday, branding it as slanted and incendiary. According to her, the document entitled NATO’s Overarching Space Policy, which was published on January 17, covers the Western-led bloc’s priorities in space. “The document is one-sided and in fact incendiary as it is based on destructive beliefs of the US-led NATO members who have an important role in space,” Zakharova emphasized.
I suspect, based on Zakharova’s comments, that Russia has determined from the new policy statement that NATO’s policy is weak, and that Russia can therefore continue to push the envelope against it and the western powers, just to find out exactly how much it can get away with.
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