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NATO issues new space policy filled with blather

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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  • Col Beausabre

    “most common sense goals, such as for example making sure the equipment of all of NATO’s partners is compatible with each other”

    NATO’s history is replete with examples of failure in this realm. The Canadians are still furious over the alleged perfidy of the US in going back on its commitment to standardization by adopting the M14 rifle in place of the agreed on Belgian FAL in return for NATO adopting the US 7.62mm round as standard. France and Germany decided to build a common tank for the Sixties and got the German Leopard and French AMX-30 instead. The US adopted Euromissile’s Roland AA missile, couldn’t make it work (though Germany and France could) and cancelled the program. The German Leo II and American Abrams tanks are the results of the failed German-American MBT-70 program. France was all for participating in the NATO light strike fighter program until the Italian Fiat G-91 was selected over a French aircraft. Etc. Etc.

  • James Street

    Will Biden’s handlers get us into a war with Russia?

    Nothing distracts from a planned takeover of America via a “failed presidency” like a nice little war.

  • BtB’s Original Mark

    I completely disagree with Bob’s closing statement: “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.”

    At the beginning of this piece, Bob observes that the new NATO space policy document has a “great deal of bureaucratic blather”.

    There are movers and shakers in NATO who understand that U.S. leadership of NATO in Europe now has to incorporate U.S. leadership of NATO in SPACE. Those larger strategic foreign policy goals are not going to be written into a public policy paper.

    In the John Batchelor Show segment “NATO in Earth Orbit”, Batchelor capped the discussion with this observation: “I just wanted to acknowledge the fact Bob, that because of …. we’re back into the GrayZone, the Fog of War in Space”. Mr. Batchelor wisely knows his History and GeoPolitics.

    P.S. – Since this post is two days old, I doubt Bob or anyone else will read this comment, but it should be noted for the record that IMHO it is very likely that Bob’s opinion is way off base on this issue.

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