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NATO Foreign Ministers Officially Recognise Space As An Operational Domain

Photograph courtesy of NATO.

NATO Foreign Ministers met in Brussels on 20 November 2019 to address a wide range of security challenges in preparation for the meeting of NATO leaders in London. “We all agree that NATO remains indispensable for our security, and that despite our differences, we are stronger as we face the future together,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Ministers took important decisions for NATO’s continuing adaptation. They agreed to recognize space as a new operational domain for NATO, alongside air, land, sea and cyber. “This can allow NATO planners to make requests for Allies to provide capabilities and services, such as hours of satellite communications,” said the Secretary General. He added that NATO has no intention to put weapons into space, and the Alliance’s approach to space will remain fully in line with international law.

Addressing energy security, ministers agreed recommendations to consolidate NATO’s role. “The recommendations aim to improve situational awareness and understand the risks; protect critical infrastructure and enhance Alliance resilience; and enable NATO forces to have the necessary energy resources at all times,” said the Secretary General.

Ministers also discussed NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism, and reviewed progress in strengthening Black Sea security. Addressing fairer burden-sharing in the Alliance, Mr. Stoltenberg noted that “the trend is up and it is unprecedented.” Ministers also adopted a policy that sets standards in the prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

Later, ministers are set to discuss NATO’s coordinated approach to three strategic issues: relations with Russia, the rise of China, and arms control. “NATO is the only platform where Europe and North America engage every day on such strategic issues, which matter to our shared security,” said the Secretary General. He added that Europe and North America are doing more together than for many years.

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