From Space Dominance to Equitable Rules and Mutual Restraint

Publication Date: 
December 2008

in Security in Space: The Next—Conference Report, 31 March-1 April 2008, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva, Switzerland

Re-evaluating Space Security
The Reconsidering the Rules for Space Project
Document Type: 
Articles and Op-Eds

My remarks today are based on a new monograph on space security policy that John Steinbruner and I wrote in conjunction with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.1 This monograph is intended for US “opinion shapers”—independent experts who know little about current US space policy, but who care a lot about how the United States interacts with other countries and who might be infl uential in shaping security policies of the next US administration. We hope that the monograph will convince Americans that the United States should start talking seriously with the rest of the world about additional legally binding rules for space security—and stop blocking a negotiating mandate for the Conference on Disarmament or pretending that all problems of space security can be solved through increased transparency and voluntary codes of conduct. We hope the monograph will also be useful for diplomats and security experts in other countries who want to know whether the United States really could achieve comprehensive military space dominance if the next administration continues to pursue that objective—either because their country is a US ally, and thus implicated to a certain degree, or because it might some day be on the receiving end of US efforts to control who can use outer space and for what purposes. Our goal is to raise awareness and facilitate informed discussion, not to provide defi nitive answers. In the time available now, I will give a brief overview of our analysis, encourage you to read the whole monograph, and invite you to respond with your reactions and suggestions.