NATO expands use of its all-for-one, one-for-all collective defense clause to include attacks in outer space

BRUSSELS – NATO leaders on Monday broadened the use of their all-for-one, one-for-all mutual defense clause to include a collective response to attacks in space.

Article 5 of the founding treaty of NATO stipulates that an attack against one of the 30 allies will be considered as an attack against all. Until now, it only applied to more traditional military attacks on land, sea or in the air, and more recently in cyberspace.

In a summit statement, the leaders said they “consider attacks to, from or in space” could be a challenge for NATO which threatens “national and European prosperity, security and stability. Atlantic Ocean, and could also be detrimental to modern societies “. like a conventional attack.

“Such attacks could lead to the invocation of Article 5. A decision as to when such attacks would lead to the invocation of Article 5 would be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis.” , they said.

About 2,000 satellites orbiting the earth, more than half of which are operated by NATO countries, provide everything from mobile phone and banking services to weather forecasts. Military commanders rely on some of them to navigate, communicate, share intelligence and detect missile launches.

In December 2019, NATO leaders declared space the alliance’s “fifth area” of operations, after land, sea, air and cyberspace. Many member countries are concerned about what they say is increasingly aggressive behavior in the China-Russia space.

About 80 countries have satellites and private companies are also setting up shop there. In the 1980s, only a fraction of NATO communications was via satellite. Today it is at least 40%. During the Cold War, NATO had more than 20 stations, but new technologies allow the world’s largest security organization to double its coverage to a fifth of that number.

NATO’s collective defense clause was only activated once, when members rallied to the United States following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Biden said Monday that Article 5 is “a sacred obligation” between the allies. “I just want all of Europe to know that the United States is here,” he said. “The United States is here.”

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