Star Wars 2: Article 5 of NATO from open space

19 December 2019

star-wars-2-article-5-of-nato-from-open-space-fapte.mdThe militarization of space and cyberspace will give the United States an undeniable advantage.

The EU and NATO must respond to Moscow’s creation of anti-satellite weapons. This is stated in the report of the Institute of International Relations (PISM) under the Government of Poland.

"Russia is concerned about the growing technological advantage of the United States, as well as their military dominance in space. At the same time, the Russian leadership is developing a kinetic anti-satellite weapon, which is positioned as a response to similar projects implemented by China, the United States and India", - Polish analysts say.

At the same time, the Poles say that the Russian Federation intends to modernize anti-satellite systems as an “asymmetric response” to US steps - the development of American missile defense systems, new modifications of ground-based missiles and hypersonic weapons.

Recall that since 2019, a new structure is responsible for US actions in space - the Space Command (SPACECOM) as part of the Armed Forces. According to US President Donald Trump, the increased military presence is caused by threats from "opponents", which supposedly pose a danger to US satellites.

NATO is now also considering space as a new area for its operations along with airspace, land, maritime territories and the cybersphere. This was announced on November 20 by the Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg.

According to Russian military analysts, the Americans are betting on the militarization of space. We are talking about the deployment of satellite groups that enhance missile defense, and satellite interceptors that can intercept not only parts of ballistic missiles and hypersonic weapons, but also eliminate other satellites.

It would be strange if Russia would sit idly by in such a situation. So, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that Russia would quickly create reciprocal technologies if the United States deployed weapons in space.

The PISM notes that now Moscow can add the functions of combating satellites to the A-235 and S-400 missile defense systems, which are capable of inter-atmospheric interception. It is alleged, moreover, that soon the Russian Federation will have the opportunity to use systems against civilian and military satellites in low Earth orbit. Plus the ability to deploy robotic satellites that disrupt the operation of technology in higher orbits.

Another area that PISM analysts single out is Russian electronic warfare systems (EW), which can jam satellite signals. In 2018, Norway accused the Russian military of interfering in the GPS operations of NATO forces participating in the maneuvers. A spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, noted then that the Kremlin did not know anything about alleged involvement in GPS problems.

Nevertheless, Polish specialists “in the light of the cyber operations conducted by Russia” come to the conclusion that Russia has technologies that allow it to influence the work of civilian and military satellites.

"The listed non-combat means may also allow Russia to secretly interfere with the work of the enemy’s military satellites in peacetime", - the report said.

PISM officials believe that NATO allies should analyze the potential actions of the bloc in connection with the possible use of anti-satellite weapons. In particular, the alliance needs to decide whether the destruction of a member’s satellite is considered a pretext for activating the Fifth Article of the NATO Charter, which involves, inter alia, the use of force in response to an attack on one of the countries, the report said.

What are the Poles doing, de facto calling for a buildup of the military and space power of the NATO countries, and how will Russia respond to this? 

The role of space in our lives is now much greater than it seems at first glance, - says Vasily Petrov, research fellow at the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics, Moscow State University, and deputy chief designer of the scientific equipment complex.

Even if we take commercial space, there are three major areas without which modern life is unthinkable. These are communications, navigation and remote sensing of the Earth - basically, photography. I note that photography is the space usage section that is closest to special applications.

A lot of control systems are tied to navigation systems like GPS and GLONASS, ranging from aircraft and ships to missiles and special devices.

If such a navigation system is disabled, the situation can be compared with the first combat use of a torpedo - when an expensive warship is put out of action using cheap weapons.

In a word, creating a space navigation system and maintaining it in working condition is very expensive, but disabling it is relatively simple.

Same thing with the connection. Now most of the exchange of information between the continents takes place via optical submarine cables. However, satellite transponders for television, the Internet and space communications remain a very substantial sector. It is not for nothing that crazy money is being invested in this industry by a number of American companies - with the deployment of monstrous-sized groups of hundreds of spacecraft. Their goal is to reduce the time of access to information between remote territories by hundreds of times. All this suggests one thing: there are estimates that such projects will pay off, since the need for high-speed access is very great.

- How is this connected with the military space?

- I have a feeling that special space assets that we are not told about are aimed, first of all, at protecting such groups - connected, navigational.

On the other hand, space is fundamentally different from earth and air: on earth, if you do not intend to cross the state’s border, you will not cross it. In space, no one can ignore the laws of physics, according to which cosmic bodies float. In principle, you can change the orbit - but this business is gradual and not fast.

Therefore, the main law in space is - do not touch other people's spacecraft. I note that they can be touched not specifically, but by accident: it is not for nothing that the topic of space debris is being raised more and more often.

- Placing weapons in space - for example, strike - gives a significant strategic advantage?

- The main advantage in this case is quick detection. Satellites can fly over any territories, and everything that is in the air (and not only in the air) is very difficult to hide from the corresponding satellites.

- Is the USA much ahead of us in the space sphere?

- In terms of science in space, Americans do not have a tangible advantage. But they have a great advantage in terms of implementing various ideas. They have the ability to quickly implement technical solutions, try, and if necessary, sweep unsuccessful decisions. In this sense, the resources of the Russian Federation and the USA are not comparable.
But, I repeat, in space, in the case of aggressive actions, this American advantage can be quickly leveled.

Many major players accuse Russia of provoking the militarization of cyberspace and space, - said Sergei Ermakov, an expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI).
In fact, it is the United States that believes that the development of new military operational environments - space and cyberspace - provides America with a chance of global leadership, which it is losing. Since the classical methods to achieve this leadership will not succeed.

I note that space and cyberspace are in one bundle, and now these new spaces are actively militarizing. So far, however, not in terms of technology, but in terms of concepts.

Almost all of the leading Western think tanks that deal with security issues assess the risks of war both in space and in cyberspace.

As a result, very specific programs appear, and very specific developments are underway. And most importantly, issues of combat use are being considered. Moreover, not only by the armed forces of the United States and its allies in Europe, but also by the forces of the NATO bloc.

- Why did the Poles speak about the problems of militarization of space?
- This is no coincidence. PISM is an organization well known among military analysts. It’s just that it doesn’t release reports, much less publish them. Please note: Polish analysts pose the same questions that have recently been raised at the summit of the foreign ministers of NATO member countries, and in anticipation of the big NATO summit in London.

The conclusion suggests itself: the issue of the militarization of space will be actively discussed at the NATO site. There will be declarations for the public that the unit adheres to a defensive strategy and considers space as an auxiliary tool. But in fact, the conversation is about making space a full-fledged combat operational space. That fits perfectly with the American idea of conducting military operations simultaneously in several operating environments, where cybernetic and space are added to the classical environments - land, air and sea.

The United States, as we know, has already created the Space Command, and now NATO is moving in the same direction.

I note that the line between attack and defense in space is especially thin. It is therefore symptomatic that the Poles touch upon the fifth article of the NATO charter. This suggests that the North Atlantic Alliance will think about how to respond to an attack on satellites - not necessarily with the help of spacecraft and waging space wars.

In general, the question is posed broader today: all spheres of human life begin to militarize. And this is the most frightening of all US space activities.



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