Reconsidering the Rules of Space
Societies rely increasingly on satellites for vital communication services, environmental
monitoring, navigation, weather prediction, and scientific research. This largely
beneficial trend is expected to intensify as more countries develop satellite technology
and utilize the services derived from it.
These technological trends have also inspired the development of military capabilities
in space that go far beyond the traditional intelligence and early warning missions
of the Cold War period. Protecting and enhancing US military capability in space
has emerged as an important focus of military planning. Recent official documents
have proposed, for example, various anti-satellite and space-based weapons to protect
and augment US capabilities in space. Serious public discussion of military space
plans has not yet occurred in the United States, though important questions of policy,
planning and budgeting loom.
The development of space affects a range of government, commercial, and scientific
interests around the world, and US leaders have yet to propose a policy framework
that adequately balances these interests. The American Academy initiated the Reconsidering
the Rules of Space project to examine the implications of US policy in space, and
to consider the international rules and principles needed to maintain a balanced
use of space over the long term.
The project has facilitated discussions between international security experts and
leading stakeholders in both commercial development and scientific advancement in
space. The project has published a series of papers, intended to help inform public
discussion and to induce a further examination of US official policies. These papers
consider the implications of physics for space security; the interaction of military,
scientific, and commercial activities in space; Chinese and Russian perspectives
on US space plans; and the possible elements of a more comprehensive set of rules
for space security.
The Reconsidering the Rules of Space project is supported by a generous grant from
the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Washington, D.C., July 30, 2009 - Experts Urge Reformulation of U.S. Space
Policy: American Academy Issues Three White Papers.
Listen to audio from the briefing.
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