Space without Weapons
The world now relies on outer space for important security and development
purposes such as meteorology, environmental monitoring and disaster prevention,
communications, education, entertainment and treaty verification.
There are already a number of international treaties and instruments
with jurisdiction over space activities, but they do not adequately cover
the challenges posed by space-based weapons and missile defence. Though
some prohibit or restrict the deployment of weapons or use of force in
outer space, the provisions are limited in scope and coverage. None of
the existing legal instruments unequivocally prevents the testing, deployment
and use of weapons other than nuclear, chemical and biological, in outer
space. Nor does any relevant legal instrument cover the use of force or
threat of use of force against a country's assets in outer space. The
placement of nuclear weapons in space is prohibited under the 1967 Outer
Space Treaty, but nuclear-warheads on missile defence interceptors launched
from the ground into space are not prohibited.
Following the Bush administration's policies aimed at space domination
and control, the Obama administration is committed to support a ban in
weapons in space. The collision of two satellites in February 2009, creating
an estimated 10,000 pieces of debris, highlighted the need for 'rules
of the road' of some form of code of conduct for space.
US missile defence though is still on the agenda, and although President Obama has emphasised the need for any missile defence system to be "proven
and cost effective" - conditions widely interpreted as putting missile
defence at a lower priority than it was for the Bush administration - plans for a US missile defence system continue to be laid. In 2010, a US decision not to put missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic was replaced by alternative plans involving Romania and Bulgaria. The plans are exacerbating
US-Russia relations and in April 2011, having long argued for a shared approach in developing missile defences, Russia stated its desire for dual control over a future missile defence shield. The US subsequently came under domestic pressure to discount the possibility, whilst Russia warned that in the absence of an acceptable cooperation agreement, it would increase its nuclear stockpile, thereby reneging on New START.
- Arms control & missile defence, International News Review, Summer 2011
- NATO nuclear policy, International News Review, Spring 2011
- Courting controversy: Missile Defence & Space, International Nuclear Weapons and
Non-Proliferation News, Spring/Summer 2010
- Contradictory signals over missile defence, International Nuclear Weapons and
Non-Proliferation News, Autumn/Winter 2009-2010
- Towards Space Security, Nuclear
Non-Proliferation News, Summer 2009
- Missile Defence faces cut backs,
Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, Summer 2009
- Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lavrov speech to the Carnegie Endowment, 7 May 2009
- Barack Obama, President of the
United States of America,
Speech at Hradcany Square, Prague, 5 April, 2009
- Taking aim at Missile Defence, Nuclear
Non-Proliferation News, February 2009
- Collision of US and Russian satellites
prompts concerns about space security, Nuclear Non-Proliferation
News, February 2009
- US Vice President Joseph Biden,
Munich Security Conference speech, 7 February 2009
- Missile Defence and NATO-Russia
relations, Proliferation in Parliament, Winter 2008
- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
on new deployments to counter US missile defence, 5 November 2008
- Briefing on the Missile Defence Agreement
between the US and Poland, 25 August 2008
- Text of the Declaration on Strategic
Cooperation Between the United States of America and the Republic of
Poland, 20 August 2008
- US and Russian Public Opinion on Arms
Control and Space Security, Nancy Gallagher, Disarmament Diplomacy
No.87, Spring 2008
- Space War, the Logical Next Mistake
for US Exceptionalism, Mike Moore, Disarmament Diplomacy
No.87, Spring 2008
- Draft Text on the Placement of Weapons
in Outer Space submitted by Russia and China, 13 February 2008
- Threat of Weaponisation, by Rebecca Johnson,
CONGO Forum on Civil Society and Outer Space: "Where do we stand on
using outer space for peaceful purposes?" Vienna, October 8-9, 2007
The following study, written by Rebecca Johnson on behalf of the Acronym
Institute and ISIS-Europe, with
research assistance from Stephen Pullinger and Aline Dewaele, was commissioned
in 2006 by the European Parliament Directorate-General for External Policies
of the Union.
"The study analyses Europe's space programmes and argues for an effective
European Space Policy to manage the civil-military interface and national-regional
interests to enable Europe to benefit from a more effective coordination
of technologies and assets for the purpose of enhancing European and international
security, while preventing destabilising developments, such as the testing,
deployment or use of anti-satellite weapons or weapons in and from space.
Articles and Publications
- Safeguarding Space Security: missile defence
and the challenge for Europe, by Dr Rebecca Johnson, for the e-Parliament
Conference on Space Security, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington,
DC, September 14, 2005.
- Notes of presentation at UNIDIR Seminar,
by Dr Rebecca Johnson, March 31, 2006
- Safeguarding Space: Building Cooperative
Norms to Dampen Negative Trends, by Theresa Hitchens, Disarmament
Diplomacy, Issue No.81, Winter 2005
- Books in Review: An International Law
Perspective on Common Security in Outer Space, by Detlev Wolter,
Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No.81, Winter 2005
- PAROS discussions at the 2004 UN First
Committee, by Rebecca Johnson, October 20, 2004.
- A Model Code of Conduct for Space
Assurance, by Michael Krepon and Michael Heller, Disarmament Diplomacy,
Issue No.77, May/June 2004.
- Ballistic Missile Defence and the
Weaponisation of Space, by Rebecca Johnson, September 2003
without weapons in space: challenges and options, Rebecca Johnson,
UN Institute for Disarmament Research, (Disarmament Forum, March 2003)
Defence and the Weaponisation of Space, Rebecca Johnson, ISIS Policy
Paper No. 11, January 2003.
- Stuck on the Launch Pad? The Ballistic
Missile Code of Conduct Opens for Business, by Mark Smith, December
2002 - January 2003.
- Anti-Satellite Capabilities of Planned
US Missile Defence Systems , by David Wright and Laura Grego, December
2002 - January 2003.
- US Space Policy: Time to Stop and Think,
by Theresa Hitchens, October - November 2002.
- Anniversary of Outer Space Treaty:
Remarks by Jayantha Dhanapala, October 14.
- Post 9/11: Missile threats and responses, by
Rebecca Johnson. Notes for Presentation at UN Department for Disarmament
Affairs Seminar Impact of 11 September 2001 on a Disarmament
Agenda in the 21st Century, October 3, 2002.
- How to move forward: NGO Approaches and Initiatives
for addressing Space Security, by Rebecca Johnson. This paper was
published in James Clay Moltz (ed), Future Security in Space: Commercial,
Military, and Arms Control Trade-Offs, Monterey Institute Center
for Nonproliferation Studies and Mountbatten Centre for International
Studies, Occasional Paper No. 10 (July 2002).
- Drawing the Line: the Path to Controlling
Weapons in Space, by Philip E. Coyle and John B. Rhinelander, September
- International Law and the Military
Uses of Space, by Ambassador Thomas Graham, March - April 2002
- Multilateral Approaches to Preventing
the Weaponisation of Space by Rebecca Johnson, Disarmament Diplomacy
No.56, April 2001
- Space & National Security: US
Policy Initiative, May 2001
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