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U.S. Navy leads 18-nation exercise in Germany
By Allen Cone
June 10, 2019

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Marines and sailors aboard the USS Mount Whitney, a Blue-Ridge class amphibious command ship, make final preparations Tuesday in Kiel, Germany, before participating in BALTOPS 19 . Photo by Cpl. Abrey Liggins/U.S. Marine Corps

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A mechanic conducts a freshwater washdown Wednesday of a MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter aboard the Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney in Kiel, Gerany, in preparation for Baltic Operations 2019. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jack D. Aistrup/U.S. Navy

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The USS Fort McHenry, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, prepares to moor Thursday at Naval Base Kiel-Tirpitzhafen in preparation for Baltops 2019. Photo by Cpl. Abrey Liggins/U.S. Marine Corps

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The British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, RFA Argus, sits pier side at Naval Base Kiel-Tirpitzhafen, Germany, on Saturday in preparation for BALTOPs 2019. Photo by Cpl. Abrey Liggins/U.S. Marine Corps

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The Turkish Gabya Class-frigate T.C.G. Gokova departs Naval Base Kiel-Tirpitzhafen, Germany, Sunday, in preparation for BALTOPS 2019 in Kiel, Germany. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua M. Tolbert/U.S. Navy

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Ships are moored pierside at Naval Base Kiel-Tirpitzhafen, Germany, Friday in preparation for BALTOPS 2019. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua M. Tolbert/U.S. Navy

June 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's 2nd Fleet is leading BALTOPS, a two-week, 18-nation exercise that involves 8,600 personnel in Germany's Baltic Sea port of Kiel.

The 47th annual multinational Baltic Operations began Sunday and ends June 21 among the NATO allies.

BALTOPS, which is an annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region, is one of the largest exercises in northern Europe "enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations," according to a Navy news release.

"No one nation can face today's challenges alone, we are much stronger together," Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, said. "Our partner and NATO alliances must continue to strengthen our deterrence and defense efforts and adapt through improving readiness and responsiveness."

Other participating nations are Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey.

The exercise will include 50 surface ships, 36 aircraft and two submarines. The USS Mount Whitney, a Blue-Ridge class amphibious command ship, and the USS Fort McHenry, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, are among the ships participating.

"I think BALTOPS represents the habit we have made in operating in a coalition environment and in a multinational environment," said British Royal Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Burns. "One of the advantages, particularly in the NATO framework, as we operate together more and more we standardize our procedures so we now have a generation of military folk who are used to operating together with standard procedures."

Activities will include finding and destroying sea mines and submarines, using air defense and landing troops onshore as well as defense against attack from enemy navy vessels.

NATO's Air Operations Center in Uedem will direct all air operations.

"Baltic Sea is of vital strategic importance for the Alliance and is bordered by six NATO countries," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in a news release. "BALTOPS is now in its 47th year and is not directed against anyone -- but clearly the security environment in the region has deteriorated after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea."

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania touch the Baltic Sea, and Finland, Norway and Sweden dip into the sea.

A scheduled landing is planned in Klaipeda, Lithuania, about 90 miles from where Russia maintains a naval base in Kaliningrad, USNI News reported.

The 2nd Fleet command in Norfolk, Va., was re-established last year amid Russia's growing naval activity in the Atlantic.

"BALTOPS tests how well our forces work together and shows that NATO can defend itself against any adversary," Lungescu said.

Also, BALTOPS will be among the first major training opportunities for the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which includes 3,000 personnel from several NATO and partner countries.

After BALTOPS, most ships participate in the Kielerwochen naval parade in Kiel, NATO said.

 

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NATO Secretary General: Russian aggressive policy the main threat to the Alliance
June 11, 2019
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In an interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika, the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said that "aggressive policy" of Russia is the main threat to NATO.

He also noted that among other threats, there are the activities of hackers, terrorism, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Secretary-General called the overall security situation "the most unforeseen" in many years, stressing the importance of NATO in these conditions.

"The strong ties between Europe and North America have made NATO the strongest Alliance in history. The fact that we will soon accept Northern Macedonia as the 30th member shows that NATO is a successful Alliance," he said.

The Secretary-General said that one of the priorities of the Alliance is stability in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, where conflict with Serbia has escalated.

 

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NATO Secretary General: Russian aggressive policy the main threat to the Alliance
June 11, 2019
View attachment 7896
In an interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika, the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said that "aggressive policy" of Russia is the main threat to NATO.

He also noted that among other threats, there are the activities of hackers, terrorism, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Secretary-General called the overall security situation "the most unforeseen" in many years, stressing the importance of NATO in these conditions.

"The strong ties between Europe and North America have made NATO the strongest Alliance in history. The fact that we will soon accept Northern Macedonia as the 30th member shows that NATO is a successful Alliance," he said.

The Secretary-General said that one of the priorities of the Alliance is stability in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, where conflict with Serbia has escalated.

 

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Russian Navy conducts firing drills in Baltic amid NATO exercise
June 11, 2019

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A group of ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet has entered the Baltic Sea to conduct an exercise, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

The group includes the corvettes Boikiy and Stoikiy, the small missile vessels Serpukhov, Zeleny Dol, Liven and Passat, and the anti-submarine ship Alexin. They entered the Baltic in order to practice firing torpedoes, missiles and artillery against imaginary enemy ships and airborne targets.

During the drill, the ships will rehearse search and destroy procedures, electronic missile launches, and defense against a large-scale air raid.

Between 9 and 21 June, NATO is conducting the Baltops 2019 exercise in the Baltic Sea. The drill is meant to demonstrate how well the NATO forces are able to work together and defend against any enemy. Soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the drill. The Baltops exercise has been held annually since 1972.

RIA Novosti reported with reference to Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD) that Russian A-50 early warning aircraft have been relocated to Krasnodar Krai to monitor the aerial situation over the Black Sea during the NATO exercise. SMD Spokesperson Vadim Astafyev said that this will help to prevent incidents with civilian ships and aircraft, which could end up in the alliance’s exercise zone. The A-50s will be escorted by Su-27SMZ fighters.

At the start of June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance will conduct a joint exercise in the Black Sea with the Ukrainian military.

 

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Russian Navy conducts firing drills in Baltic amid NATO exercise
June 11, 2019

View attachment 7898
A group of ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet has entered the Baltic Sea to conduct an exercise, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

The group includes the corvettes Boikiy and Stoikiy, the small missile vessels Serpukhov, Zeleny Dol, Liven and Passat, and the anti-submarine ship Alexin. They entered the Baltic in order to practice firing torpedoes, missiles and artillery against imaginary enemy ships and airborne targets.

During the drill, the ships will rehearse search and destroy procedures, electronic missile launches, and defense against a large-scale air raid.

Between 9 and 21 June, NATO is conducting the Baltops 2019 exercise in the Baltic Sea. The drill is meant to demonstrate how well the NATO forces are able to work together and defend against any enemy. Soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the drill. The Baltops exercise has been held annually since 1972.

RIA Novosti reported with reference to Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD) that Russian A-50 early warning aircraft have been relocated to Krasnodar Krai to monitor the aerial situation over the Black Sea during the NATO exercise. SMD Spokesperson Vadim Astafyev said that this will help to prevent incidents with civilian ships and aircraft, which could end up in the alliance’s exercise zone. The A-50s will be escorted by Su-27SMZ fighters.

At the start of June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance will conduct a joint exercise in the Black Sea with the Ukrainian military.

 

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Warsaw and Washington agree to increase number of US troops in Poland
June 11, 2019

View attachment 7901

The Chief of the Cabinet of the Polish President, Krzysztof Szczerski, said that the country has concluded talks on increasing the number of US troops, as reported by Polskie Radio. According to him, Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Donald Trump would have to approve the agreement.

“As the political leaders of the countries, the presidents will decide whether or not they are satisfied with the deal. If so, we envision this political agreement will happen when the President of Poland visits the White House on June 12,” said Krzysztof Szczerski.

He noted that the Polish Ministry of Defense and the Pentagon were in talks to increase the presence of the United States Army in Poland. According to Szczerski, the agreement contains everything Andrzej Duda hoped the negotiators would include.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense revealed plans to increase the size of the US military contingent in Poland. Subsequently, President of Poland Andrzej Duda announced that Poland was ready to deploy American troops, currently made up of about 4.5 thousand soldiers, on its territory.

In addition, the country’s military leadership plans to deploy a new army division to the eastern border. The division will include two active brigades and another one that will be manned shortly. The division command will be deployed to the city of Siedlce. Fifteen thousand troops will serve in the division.

 

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Russia sends A-50 'flying radars' to Kuban amid NATO exercises
11 June 2019


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The head of the press service of the Russian southern military district, Vadim Astafyev said that the long-range radiolocation detection aircrafts A-50 were relocated to the Kuban.

According to him, "A-50 aircraft of Russian Aerospace Forces flew to one of the airfields located in the Krasnodar region."

The aircraft will monitor the air over the Black Sea during large-scale NATO exercises, which take place on the territory of several Black Sea countries in Eastern Europe.

This will prevent possible incidents involving civilian ships and aircraft that might accidentally end up in the area of NATO exercises, said Astafyev.

It is also noted that A-50 aircraft are accompanied by Su-27SM3 fighters in the airspace above the neutral waters of the Black Sea.

 

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Russia sends A-50 'flying radars' to Kuban amid NATO exercises
11 June 2019


View attachment 7902

The head of the press service of the Russian southern military district, Vadim Astafyev said that the long-range radiolocation detection aircrafts A-50 were relocated to the Kuban.

According to him, "A-50 aircraft of Russian Aerospace Forces flew to one of the airfields located in the Krasnodar region."

The aircraft will monitor the air over the Black Sea during large-scale NATO exercises, which take place on the territory of several Black Sea countries in Eastern Europe.

This will prevent possible incidents involving civilian ships and aircraft that might accidentally end up in the area of NATO exercises, said Astafyev.

It is also noted that A-50 aircraft are accompanied by Su-27SM3 fighters in the airspace above the neutral waters of the Black Sea.

 

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Military exercise BALTOPS kicks off along Estonia’s coast
By: Cal Pringle

14 June 2019

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A U.S. sailor flags down a landing craft to offload tactical vehicles during BALTOPS 2019. (Cpl. Abrey Liggins/U.S. Marine Corps)

WASHINGTON — U.S. and Spanish marines on Wednesday conducted an amphibious landing drill on the Estonian coast as part of this year’s BALTOPS exercise, according to a Pentagon news release.

The location of the exercise is significant for NATO as it seeks to counter what it perceives as Russian aggression along the alliance’s eastern flank.

BALTOPS is an annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region involving 18 allied and partner nations.

During the multinational exercise, U.S. Marines assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and their Spanish counterparts assigned to the 2nd Landing Battalion, Marine Infantry Brigade, landed on the shore using the amphibious dock landing ship Fort McHenry, the release said.

Last month, the United States and Estonia signed a defense cooperation agreement, joining the other Baltic states Lithuania and Latvia in reaching bilateral agreements with the Pentagon on future defense planning.

 

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NATO strengthens cooperation with Ukraine's military intelligence
June 22, 2019


The intelligence structures of NATO member countries are intensifying cooperation with the Military Intelligence of Ukraine, reports the press service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

The decision to increase cooperation was made on during the official visit of the Chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine Vasyl Burba to the Baltic countries.

During the conversations, Colonel-General Burba released additional evidence of Russia's military activity in the territories of the Donbas which are not under Ukraine’s control and near the borders of Europe.

"In order to timely identify signs of Russia's preparation for the expansion of armed aggression against our country and possible military actions of the Russian Federation in the regions of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, the leaders of military intelligence of the North Atlantic Alliance and Ukraine agreed to increase the volume of intelligence exchange. Now we are making the preparations for joint intelligence assessments between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and NATO of the actions of the aggressor country. A Memorandum of understanding in the field of intelligence activities has been signed," the report reads.

As a result of Burba's meetings with the heads of military intelligence of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the exchange of experience in countering Russian aggression in crucial areas of intelligence activities, in particular - in the field of cyber intelligence was established.

Earlier, the military intelligence of Ukraine provided to the US the evidence of Russia's intentions to continue to destabilize the situation in Europe. However, US intelligence believes it is unlikely that a large-scale Russian attack on Ukraine will start in 2019.

 

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NATO strengthens cooperation with Ukraine's military intelligence
June 22, 2019


The intelligence structures of NATO member countries are intensifying cooperation with the Military Intelligence of Ukraine, reports the press service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

The decision to increase cooperation was made on during the official visit of the Chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine Vasyl Burba to the Baltic countries.

During the conversations, Colonel-General Burba released additional evidence of Russia's military activity in the territories of the Donbas which are not under Ukraine’s control and near the borders of Europe.

"In order to timely identify signs of Russia's preparation for the expansion of armed aggression against our country and possible military actions of the Russian Federation in the regions of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, the leaders of military intelligence of the North Atlantic Alliance and Ukraine agreed to increase the volume of intelligence exchange. Now we are making the preparations for joint intelligence assessments between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and NATO of the actions of the aggressor country. A Memorandum of understanding in the field of intelligence activities has been signed," the report reads.

As a result of Burba's meetings with the heads of military intelligence of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the exchange of experience in countering Russian aggression in crucial areas of intelligence activities, in particular - in the field of cyber intelligence was established.

Earlier, the military intelligence of Ukraine provided to the US the evidence of Russia's intentions to continue to destabilize the situation in Europe. However, US intelligence believes it is unlikely that a large-scale Russian attack on Ukraine will start in 2019.

 

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European NATO members to boost spending this year
June 25, 2019
By Allen Cone
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The guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely, seen in foreground, was a participant in the BALTOPS naval exercise of NATO allies in the Baltic Sea over 12 days in June. Photo by MCS2 Mark Anthony Hays/U.S. Navy

June 25 (UPI) -- The European members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will increase defense spending for the fourth consecutive year amid calls by President Donald Trump for the allies to spend a greater share of their budgets on defense.

In a report released Tuesday on the 29-member alliance, NATO said the European countries would average 1.58 percent of gross domestic product this year on defense, which is an increase from 1.53 percent in 2018, 1.48 percent in 2017 and 1.46 percent in 2016.

The expenditures are military spending -- not payments to NATO.

"This is a good trend and we expect this to continue," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters from his Brussels headquarters.

In 2014, NATO members pledged to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense by 2024.

Seven nations will spend at least 2 percent on defense this year compared with three in 2014. European nations achieving this goals are Greece at 2.24 percent, Britain at 2.13 percent, Estonia at 2.13 percent, Romania at 2.04 percent, Latvia at 2.01 percent and Poland at 2.01 percent. The estimate for Lithuania is just shy of 2 percent, at 1.98 percent.

Comparatively, the United States tops the list at 3.42 percent with an estimated of $752 billion in spending, while in 2014 it was 3.73 percent at $654 billion.

The United States accounts for more than two-thirds of NATO's defense expenditure of $1 trillion.

Trump threatened to pull the United States out of NATO at the alliance's last summit in July 2018.

"For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO -- but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies," Trump said at the State of the Union address in February. "Under my administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests."

Trump has taken aim at Germany, whom he referred to as a "captive of Russia."

"Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense?" Trump tweeted last June. "We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!"

Germany, which has Europe's biggest economy, will increase military spending to 1.36 percent of GDP this year -- $54 billion -- compared with 1.24 percent in 2018, according to NATO.

Canada's percentage is 1.27 percent compared with 1.29 percent last year. And France boosted its percentage to 1.84 percent from 1.82 last year.

The alliance is scheduled to discuss transatlantic "burden sharing" at meetings Wednesday and Thursday, also in Brussels.

 

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NATO chief gives Russia deadline to comply with nuclear treaty
25 June 2019

View attachment 8528
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 1, 2019. (Virginia Mayo/AP)

BRUSSELS — NATO’s secretary general has given Russia a deadline of Aug. 2 to comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or face “credible and effective” retaliatory measures.

“In the event Russia does not comply, our response will be defensive, measured and coordinated,” Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday at a news conference, where he also discussed progress on defense spending goals and plans for space. “There is still a small window of opportunity for Russia to comply with the treaty, but it is getting smaller and smaller. If the treaty breaks down, the responsibility for this lies solely with Russia.”

The 1987 INF Treaty was established as a safeguard against nuclear war. Russia is accused of violating the treaty — a charge it strongly denies, instead accusing the U.S. of flouting the pact by deploying missile-defense facilities in Eastern Europe.

Possible measures will be discussed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, he added.

When asked for specifics, Stoltenberg said: “Our response will be measured, as we do not want a new arms race. But we must ensure our defense remains credible and effective. This is NATO’s job."

“I will not preempt the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting and I cannot say what the ministers will decide on Wednesday, but we will need to respond if Russia does not comply,” he added. “Some measures can be implemented quite quickly but others will take more time.”

He did say that new and unspecified measures could be adopted against Russia as soon as this week.

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Russian military officers stand by as the 9M729, center, its launcher, left, and the 9M728, right, land-based cruise missiles are displayed in Kubinka outside Moscow on Jan. 23, 2019. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)


“The U.S and other NATO allies have tried to engage with Russia for years, and I again call on Russia to take the responsible path and comply with the treaty. But I have to say I see no sign of this," he said.

“In fact, Russia is developing new missiles in violation of the treaty,” he added, pointing to the deployment of Russia SSC-8 missiles, which “have been of concern for several years.”

“There is no doubt Russia is violating the treaty, and now is the time to tell the Russians that if it does not comply with the treaty, there will be no treaty," he continued. “There are just five weeks left for Russia to save the treaty. They still have time to respect the INF, but time is running out.”

Spending target
Stoltenberg also said NATO allies were “on track” to meet a target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Eight allies are now spending 2 percent on defense, up from three members in 2014. By the end of next year, European members and Canada will have added a cumulative total of more than €100 billion (U.S. $114 billion) since 2016, he said.

“This is a good trend, and we expect this to continue. The majority of allies have plans to reach 2 percent by 2024,” he said.

According to the NATO chief, most alliance members have increased their defense spending by double digits since 2014 and are boosting investment in new capabilities.

This year, 16 NATO members are expected to meet the benchmark of at least 20 percent of defense spending devoted to major equipment, and almost all members have plans to do so by 2024.

"Allies are also stepping up with more forces for NATO missions and operations. This is impressive progress and a sign of commitment and that NATO is on the right track. But we must keep up the positive momentum,” Stoltenberg said.


Plans for space
Ministers will approve NATO’s first-ever space policy at Wednesday’s ministerial meeting, Stoltenberg said at the news conference.

The meeting will be the first NATO event attended by acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who is heading to Europe to try to persuade reluctant and increasingly wary NATO allies to work with the Trump administration on Iran sanctions and security in the Middle East, amid concerns the U.S. and Iran are on a path to war.

Stoltenberg said the defense ministers will discuss creating a framework for how the alliance should deal with opportunities and challenges in space “for alliance security and operations.”

“Space is part of our daily lives. And while it can be used for peaceful purposes, it can also be used for aggression. Satellites can be jammed, hacked or weaponized," he said. "Anti-satellite weapons could cripple communications. So it is important that we are vigilant and resilient — also in space.”

 

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NATO aims to make space new frontier in defense
Written by Reuters -
24th Jun 2019

View attachment 8532

NATO aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats said, partly to show U.S. President Donald Trump that the alliance is relevant and adapting to new threats after he signed off on the creation of a U.S. Space Force.

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 say declaring it a domain would begin a debate over whether NATO should eventually use space weapons that can shut down enemy missiles and air defenses or destroy satellites.

The decision to declare space a new frontier for defense may help convince Trump that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can be a useful ally in deterring China’s rise as a rival military power, the diplomats said.

While NATO countries today own 65% of satellites in space, China envisions massive constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking missiles and armed forces on the ground.

China is developing weapons it could use in orbit and became the first country to land on the far side of the moon last year.

Russia, once a strategic partner for NATO but now viewed by many allies as a hostile power, is also a force in space and is one of the few countries able to launch satellites into orbit.

“You can have warfare exclusively in space, but whoever controls space also controls what happens on land, on the sea and in the air,” said Jamie Shea, a former NATO official and now an analyst at Friends of Europe think-tank in Brussels.

“If you don’t control space, you don’t control the other domains either.”

NATO defense ministers are expected to agree to a broad space policy next week at a regular meeting in Brussels, although there will be no decision yet to declare space an operational domain of defense.

A second diplomat said that while the decision was weighty and had real consequences, it would likely be “a gift to Trump”.

Trump, who used NATO’s last summit in July last year to harangue European allies over defense spending and accused Germany of being a prisoner of Russian energy, signed a plan in February to start creating the U.S. Space Force.

Even though the London gathering is some six months away, European allies are already nervous about whether Trump will use the meeting to again question the value of the alliance, of which he is the de-facto head.

WHAT TRIGGERS ARTICLE 5?
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.

No longer forced to simply circle the earth’s orbit, satellites can now be maneuvered in space to spy on other space assets. India launched an anti-satellite missile test in March.

Italy, Britain and France are Europe’s main space powers, while Germany is drafting new laws and seeking private investment to secure a slice of an emerging space market that could be worth $1 trillion a year by the 2040s.

France wants more assurances of how its space assets would be used in the event of a crisis. In other areas of warfare, national assets belonging to NATO allies are put under the command of the supreme allied commander during a conflict.

Most sensitive of all would be deciding if an attack on a allied satellite constituted an assault on the alliance and whether to trigger NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause.

Similar to a decision to make cyber a domain of warfare in 2016, NATO’s decision would initially mean increased military planning, a review of NATO vulnerabilities and scrutiny of how to better protect commercial satellites used by the military.

 

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U.S. Navy prepares for 'Sea Breeze 2019' naval exercises in Ukraine
June 28, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

View attachment 8622
A helicopter of the Ukrainian Navy lands aboard the USS Ross during last year's Sea Breeze naval exercises. Sea Breeze 2019, a 12-day,19-nation training drill, begins in Ukraine on Monday. Photo courtesy of Exercise Sea Breeze/Twitter

June 28 (UPI) -- A 19-nation naval exercise hosted by Ukraine begins on Monday, and the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet announced its participation this week.

Sea Breeze 2019, which has been held annually since 1997, is a multinational maritime exercise with land, sea and air components. Its intent is to "build combined capability and capacity to ensure maritime regional security and foster stronger friendships among partnering nations," the Navy said in a statement this week.

Ukraine and the United States will host the 12-day event, meant to enhance interoperability and capabilities among participating forces. Field training exercises, with a focus on protecting critical infrastructure, force protection, and maritime security operations, will be performed.

Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in the event, which will bring together 32 ships, 24 aircraft and over 3,000 troops.

"It is assumed that international exercises will take place in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, in Mykolaiv, Kherson and Odessa regions," the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The exercise will also include a simulation of hostile forces blocking the Danube River, which will involve the Ukrainian Border Guard Service to escort civilian vessels from the Danube to the Black Sea. Border guard services of Ukraine, Georgia and Romania will also patrol the river. The river element is new to the exercises this year.

 

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