NATO is set to include space as an official domain of warfare, in recognition that next generation weaponry will soon orbit Earth.
The decision, set to be taken at a Dec. 3-4 leaders summit in London that Trump is due to attend, would formally acknowledge that battles can be waged not only on land, in the air, at sea and on computer networks, but also in space.
“There’s agreement that we should make space a domain and the London summit is the best place to make it official,” said one senior NATO diplomat involved in the discussions, although cautioning that technical policy work was still underway.
NATO diplomats deny the alliance would be on a war footing in space, but admit declaring space for a domain warfare will trigger a debate over whether NATO should eventually use space weapons that can shut down enemy missiles and air defenses or shoot down satellites.
The U.S. military is increasingly dependent on satellites to determine what it does on the ground, guiding munitions with space-based lasers and satellites as well as using such assets to monitor for missile launches and track its forces.
Most important of all will be to decide whether an attack on an allied satellite constituted an assault on the alliance and whether to trigger NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause.