Opposing weapons in space: coordinating the various voices of opposition will be the only wag to block US plans to weaponize space.Throughout the winter of 1958, American President
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin (Russian: Никола́й Алекса́ндрович , debating the future of outer space. Their discussion followed the October 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik Sputnik: see satellite, artificial; space exploration.
Any of a series of Earth-orbiting spacecraft whose launching by the Soviet Union inaugurated the space age. and the ensuing public uproar over outer space. Both the US and USSR USSR: see Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. had nuclear weapons and were developing ballistic missiles which would carry weapons through space.
At this critical juncture, the beginning of the space race, President Eisenhower argued:
I propose that we agree that outer space should be used only for peaceful purposes. We face a decisive moment in history in relation to this matter.... Should not outer space be dedicated to the peaceful uses of mankind and denied to the purposes of war? (1958)
Once again we are at a crossroads in the development of outer space. For 50 years it has been widely accepted that space is a global commons Global commons is that which no one person or state may own or control and which is central to life. A Global Common contains an infinite potential with regard to the understanding and advancement of the biology and society of all life. e.g. to be used solely for peaceful purposes. There is a broad international consensus opposing the weaponization of space and supporting the Conference on Disarmament Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. Established in 1979, the Conference succeeded the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1962-68) and the Conference of the Committee on (CD) to negotiate a legal instrument banning all weapons in space. Still, little progress has been made towards achieving this ban, while space has become increasingly militarized mil·i·ta·rize
tr.v. mil·i·ta·rized, mil·i·ta·riz·ing, mil·i·ta·riz·es
1. To equip or train for war.
2. To imbue with militarism.
3. To adopt for use by or in the military. and the US is taking steps to make space weapons a reality. Coordinating the various voices of opposition will be the only way to block US plans to weaponize Verb 1. weaponize - make into or use as a weapon or a potential weapon; "Will modern physicists weaponize String Theory?"
alter, change, modify - cause to change; make different; cause a transformation; "The advent of the automobile may have altered the growth space.
Defining the issue
Since the early days of the space race the international community has referred to the use of 'space for peaceful purposes', and to the need to maintain a 'space sanctuary'. But a distinction must be made between 'militarization' and 'weaponization' of space. Space has been 'militarized' since the earliest communications satellites were launched into orbit. Today, militaries worldwide rely heavily on satellites for command and control, communications, reconnaissance and monitoring, early warning, treaty verification, and navigation with the Global Positioning System Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use. (GPS). Therefore, states accept that 'peaceful purposes' include military use, even that which is not particularly peaceful, and space is considered a sanctuary only in that no weapons are deployed there.
Although space is heavily militarized, it is not yet weaponized. Space 'weaponization' is generally understood to refer to the placement in orbit of space-based devices that have a destructive capacity Therefore, while satellites may be used for aggressive measures, such as GPS navigation See GPS. of fighter jets or precision guided missile guided missile, self-propelled, unmanned space or air vehicle carrying an explosive warhead. Its path can be adjusted during flight, either by automatic self-contained controls or remote human control. delivery, satellites themselves have no destructive capacity and their support of military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
The Canadian government describes three categories of potential space weapons: space strike or orbital bombardment-weapons that would operate in space but against land, sea, or air targets; anti-satellite (ASAT ASAT
Adj. 1. ASAT - of or relating to a system to destroy satellites in orbit; "antisatellite weapons"
antisatellite ) weapons that would be used against enemy satellites; and finally, space-based variants of ballistic missile defence that would destroy ballistic missiles in the boost or mid-course phase. They would use directed energy An umbrella term covering technologies that relate to the production of a beam of concentrated electromagnetic energy or atomic or subatomic particles. Also called DE. See also directed-energy device; directed-energy weapon. , such as lasers or radio frequency, or direct impact with kinetic energy kinetic energy: see energy.
Form of energy that an object has by reason of its motion. The kind of motion may be translation (motion along a path from one place to another), rotation about an axis, vibration, or any combination of weapons, or conventional explosives in orbit to destroy the target. Defining 'space' is also an essential factor in this debate. Again, Canada assumes a simple definition: "a weapon is space-based if it orbits the earth at least once, or has or will acquire a stable station at some point beyond earth orbit" (Westdal 2001). Any legal mechanism to prohibit weapons in space must take into account the full potential for the development of space weapons, the scope of use, and their placement.
The regulation of space
The threat from uncontrolled military expansion into space was recognized very early in the space race and the international community responded with efforts to regulate this activity. Just months after President Eisenhower approached Bulganin to establish a bilateral mechanism, the UN General Assembly created the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. In 1962 the General Assembly adopted the "Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space." This resolution became the basis of negotiations in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space of a multilateral mechanism regulating the use of space. The Outer Space Treaty entered into force in October 1967, becoming the first treaty governing access to space. It established the principle that outer space is not open to national appropriation but is a global commons free for the use of all states, and it codified cod·i·fy
tr.v. cod·i·fied, cod·i·fy·ing, cod·i·fies
1. To reduce to a code: codify laws.
2. To arrange or systematize. the 'peaceful use of outer space', banning the placement of weapons of mass destr uction in orbit and the establishment of military bases in space.
Nuclear weapons testing in outer space was banned by the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, in response to two series of space-based tests undertaken by the US and the Soviet Union in the early sixties. Several additional treaties and declarations were adopted in the 1970s, regulating space exploration and military activity in space. But none specifically addressed the deployment or use of weapons or added to the Outer Space Treaty. Unfortunately, technological developments since 1967 have left vast gaps in the Outer Space Treaty, opening the way for new space-based weapons unless the international community acts to prevent this.
The political context
The weaponization of space first appeared on the UN agenda in 1981 when the Conference on Disarmament was given the task of negotiating a treaty to regulate the military use of space in the resolution, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). Although it was always a contentious subject, the CD made some progress in drafting a treaty until disagreement between China and the US in 1995 prevented consensus on the creation of the Ad Hoc committee ad hoc committee A committee formed with the purpose of addressing a specific issue or issues, which theoretically is disbanded once its raison d'etre is finished which negotiated PAROS. Progress had been made on a Fissile fis·sile
1. Possible to split.
2. Physics Fissionable, especially by neutrons of all energies.
3. Geology Easily split along close parallel planes. Material Control Treaty, when China insisted that it would only negotiate that item if PAROS was completed in tandem Adv. 1. in tandem - one behind the other; "ride tandem on a bicycle built for two"; "riding horses down the path in tandem"
tandem . US opposition to PAROS blocked action on both items and the CD has remained effectively paralyzed par·a·lyze
tr.v. par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing, par·a·lyz·es
1. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.
2. To make unable to move or act: paralyzed by fear. since 1995. Despite the stalemate in the CD, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly continues to support the mandate; at the 2002 session the vote was 156 in favour of PAROS, zero against, with Israel and the US abstaining (UN General Assembly 2002).
The US maintains that it is "committed ... to ensuring that exploration and use of outer space remain open to all nations for peaceful purposes and for the benefit of all humanity" (Javits 2002, p. 52). However, the US definition of 'peaceful purposes includes national security. In CD debates the US argues that the current treaty regime is sufficient and there is no need to negotiate a PAROS treaty, since there is no threat of a space race.
Since coming into office, the Bush Administration has further hindered progress toward a space weapons ban. It has pursued a robust program of research and development for an integrated ballistic missile defence system Noun 1. missile defence system - naval weaponry providing a defense system
missile defense system
naval weaponry - weaponry for warships which would provide 'layered' defences. Although plans are not yet finalized, ongoing research on the space-based laser and space-based kinetic kill vehicle suggest that this version of missile defence may include space-based components (Grahame 2002). In June 2002, the AntiBallistic Missile antiballistic missile: see guided missile.
antiballistic missile (ABM)
Weapon designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles. Effective ABM systems have been sought since the Cold War, when the nuclear arms race raised the spectre of complete Treaty was dissolved by the US, who argued the treaty would restrict testing for the proposed missile defence system. For thirty years the ABM ABM: see guided missile.
ABM - Asynchronous Balanced Mode treaty had prohibited the USSR and US from developing space-based ballistic missile defences. Also in June, the Department of Defense announced plans to merge US Space Command (SPACECOM SPACECOM Space Command ) with US Strategic Command, the command and control centre for US nuclear forces. This merger links early warning and space-based defence with the offensive capacity of strategic nucl ear weapons, hinting at the role space may play in the future (US Dept. of Defense 2002).
The 1997 US SPACECOM document Vision for 2020 outlined a new military vision to dominate the space dimension and integrate space forces, in order to acquire "full spectrum dominance." The position of SPACECOM has an influential supporter in the current Secretary of Defense. Donald Rumsfeld has strongly advocated national missile defence and has called for new measures to protect and promote US interests in space. Until he became Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld chaired The Commission to Assess United Stares National Security Space Management and Organization which, in its January 2001 report, warned: "If the US is to avoid a 'Space Pearl Harbor' it needs to take seriously the possibility of an attack on US space systems." This perspective appears to be shaping Bush space policy.
The space weapons debate is generally perceived to be a face-off between idealists who seek a space sanctuary and American warmongers who see space as the ultimate high ground. Although it ultimately comes down to 'for' and 'against', in actuality there are multiple players in the space debate, each having a political, economic, or moral stake in the future of outer space. The scientific and commercial space sectors, the general public, nations with and without major interests in space, and various parties within the US itself have an interest in this debate.
State opposition to American intentions to weaponize space is led by China and Russia. Both states feel threatened by US military dominance and even more so by threats that the US will increase this strength with expansion into space. The antagonism between these three countries is most apparent in the stalled CD negotiations. On June 27 China and Russia presented a joint working paper to the CD, proposing a meaty on the Prevention of the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space. the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects. Should the US proceed with space weaponization, China has threatened to respond in kind, and Theresa Hitchens has argued: "It is almost inconceivable that either Russia or China would allow the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. to become the sole nation with space-based weapons" (2002, p. 29). The anticipated response of Russia and China, should the US take the provocative step of developing space weapons, is the basis for general belief that an arms race in space is a very real possibility.
Canada has a long established position in favour of a complete ban on space weapons, first expressed by Prime Minister Trudeau at the Second UN Special Session on Disarmament in 1982. working through the CD, Canada continues to advocate a space weapons ban and supports resolution of the PAROS issue. Canada promotes an extension of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty to include all space weapons, in order to prevent an arms race that could jeopardize civilian interests and peaceful military use of space (DFAIT DFAIT Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada) ).
The EU is also a strong advocate for a space weapons ban, and supported Canada's position in a June 2001 Canada-EU Joint Statement on Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament One of the major efforts to preserve international peace and security in the twenty-first century has been to control or limit the number of weapons and the ways in which weapons can be used. Two different means to achieve this goal have been disarmament and arms control. . After the US, Europe has the greatest commercial and scientific interest in space. Historically, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (srē läng`kə) [Sinhalese,=resplendent land], formerly Ceylon, ancient Taprobane, officially Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, island republic (2005 est. pop. and Egypt also have been outspoken on this issue, advocating the maintenance of space for peaceful purposes. Both nations benefit from peaceful space technologies for development projects and arms control arms control
Limitation of the development, testing, production, deployment, proliferation, or use of weapons through international agreements. Arms control did not arise in international diplomacy until the first Hague Convention (1899). .
American military perspective
Although there is growing support for space weaponization amongst American military leaders and policy makers, this stance is not universally accepted in the US Department of Defense. Karl Mueller Karl Mueller (b. July 27 1963, Minneapolis – d. June 17 2005, Minneapolis) was a U.S. rock musician. He was the bass player and a founding member of the Minneapolis rock/grunge band Soul Asylum. of RAND has described six perspectives found in American discourse--three in favour and three opposed to weaponization. Sanctuary idealists oppose the spread of weapons into any realm; internationalists believe space weapons might negatively effect international stability; and nationalists argue that space weaponization might enhance American military capabilities in the short term, but by provoking enemies and breaking technological barriers, it would make it easier for other nations to acquire the space weapons advantage. Nationalists ascertain that space weaponization would weaken American strength relative to the rest of the world, and that the US has the most to lose from a space race. On the other side, space racers accept that sanctuary is desirable, but argue that weaponization is inevitable and so the US sh ould lead the way; space controllers believe there will be great military benefits from space weaponization and support US advancements in this area when feasible; and space hegemonists argue that space is the 'ultimate high ground' that should be controlled by the US with access denied to enemies (Mueller 2002).
Ongoing dialogue in the US Air Force, which overseas military space programs, has demonstrated this variety of perspectives. Lt. Col. Bruce DeBlois (1998) has determined that weaponizing space would be militarily and politically self-defeating, costly, and provocative to allies and enemies alike. Maj. William L. Spacey spac·ey
Variant of spacy.
Adj. 1. spacey - stupefied by (or as if by) some narcotic drug
unconventional - not conventional or conformist; "unconventional life styles" 11 (1999), USAF has examined the issue and argues that because the US has made such advancement in weapons development it need not feel threatened if other nations weaponize space first. He argues that space weapons would be costly, and there are ground-based options that might be just as effective, so pursuing space weapons programs makes little strategic sense.
The extremist position of the space hegemonists is seen in the literature of SPACECOM, but the prevalent view held by the military establishment appears to be the space race view. These people may or may not want the US to deploy space weapons, but are convinced others eventually will, so the US should lead the way to ensure the protection of its space interests and prevent a 'Space Pearl Harbor'. Commenting on the likelihood that the US would one day require both space offenses and defenses, Gen Michael Ryan There are many notable people with the name Michael Ryan:
Commercial expansion into space is a rapidly growing area of development and financial investment. In 2001 the global satellite industry generated revenues of US$85.1 billion. Satellite usage for communications, remote sensing Deriving digital models of an area on the earth. Using special cameras from airplanes or satellites, either the sun's reflections or the earth's temperature is turned into digital maps of the area. , navigation, and direct-to-consumer television generated $46.4 billion of that total. The commercial satellite industry is growing faster than any other space sector and this growth is forecasted to continue as demand increases for faster internet access See how to access the Internet. , direct television, and wireless services (Futron Corp.).
Geo-stationary orbit is already crowded and space weapons which, if used, would spread fragments of debris widely, threaten the security of satellites. The mere testing of antisatellite an·ti·sat·el·lite
Directed against enemy satellites: antisatellite weapons.
Adj. 1. antisatellite weapons could create large debris fields that could cause extensive damage. US Space Command's Space Catalogue currently tracks some 8,700 man-made objects in orbit, ranging in size from 10-30 cm in lower earth orbit to over one metre in geo-stationary orbit. Approximately 94 per cent of this material is considered space debris Space debris or orbital debris, also called space junk and space waste, are the objects in orbit around Earth created by humans, that no longer serve any useful purpose. and a hazard to space shuttles The term Space Shuttles refers to partly or fully reusable launch vehicles for regularly placing payloads into low earth orbit.
Deploying space weapons threatens the security of satellites and of access to outer space for commercial and civilian use. But the commercial satellite sector has remained remarkably quiet in the debate about the weaponization of space. Clay Moltz (2002) has argued that this silence is the result of conflicts of interest between corporations with both military and commercial investment in space, and a general disbelief that the US will seriously pursue the development and deployment of space weapons.
The world has benefitted greatly from exploration and research in space; and at the core of all commercial and military space development is a legacy of scientific experimentation. Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada have strong space programs, all emphasizing scientific discovery, and there is increased international cooperation in this area. The great benefits nations derive from space science and an improved understanding of the earth and the universe lend weight to the need to prevent space weaponization.
Committed to separating the military and civilian space programs, the Eisenhower government in 1958 passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act The National Aeronautics and Space Act (Pub.L. 85-568) is the United States federal statute that created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Act, which followed close on the heels of the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik, was drafted by the United States , creating the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. ). Despite this technical separation, there is close cooperation between NASA and the Department of Defense, so consequently NASA has not protested space weaponization openly. But as space weapons research and development becomes a budget priority, and should NASA programs suffer as a result, opposition might be more evident. However, many individual American scientists and astronauts publicly support the maintenance of a global commons free of weapons. Notably, Dr. Sally Ride Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26 1951) is an American former astronaut who in 1983 became the first American woman to reach outer space. She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982). , the first American First American may refer to:
The public debate
As technology assumes an increasingly important role in our society, so does outer space. Satellites are essential for modern communication--wireless services, the internet, and satellite television. Remote sensing provides input for development and agricultural projects, to monitor weather and climate change, and to map natural and man-made disasters like forest fires This is a list of notorious forest fires: North America
Year Size Name Area Notes
1825 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km²) Miramichi Fire New Brunswick Killed 160 people. , oil spills This is a list of oil spills throughout the world. Large Oil Spills to Date
Oil Spills of over 100,000 tonnes or 30 million US gallons, ordered by Tonnes
Spill / Tanker Location Date *Tons of crude oil link , and floods. And there is untold potential for further development of space technologies for peaceful purposes. A space weapons ban would preserve space for uses that benefit society.
The general public is not yet actively participating in the weaponization of space debate, despite its obvious interest in the outcome. Reagan's "Star Wars" program and ballistic missile defence have reached the popular media, but the broader issue has not been given much attention. Non-governmental organizations have become engaged in the issue and are working to raise awareness about ongoing developments in the American space program and the political debate over space. Because of the benefits the public gains from space development, and the potential losses if this environment were weaponized, it is essential that the public join the call for a space weapons ban.
Space is the only realm in our universe where weapons have not yet been deployed. Unlike any arms control effort in history, a ban on space weapons would not be a disarmament treaty, but a preventative measure. It would stop the spread of weapons into the sanctuary of space, prevent an arms race, and prevent one state's domination of the global commons.
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DeBlois, Bruce 1998. "Space Sanctuary: A viable National Strategy," Airpower Journal Airpower Journal may refer to one of the following publications.
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, "The Non-Weaponization of Outer space." [Online] Available at http://www.dfait-maeci-gc.ca/arms/outer3-en.asp [Accessed 15 October 2002].
Eisenhower, Dwight 1958, January 13, letter to Nikolai Bulganin, chairman, council of Ministers, USSR. [Online.] Available from The Eisenhower Institute, in "The Historical context" at http://www.eisenhowerinstitute.org/programs/globalpartnerships/fos/ne wfrontier/letters.htm.
Futron corp.. 2001-2002 Satellite Industry Indicators Survey, prepared for the satellite Industry Association, http://www.sia.org/papers/satellite % 20Industry % 20Indicators % 20Survey-02.pdf.
Grahame, David 2002. "A Question of Intent: Missile Defense and the Weaponization of Space," BASIC Notes, 1 May. [Online] Available from http://www.basicint.org/pubs/Notes/2002NMDspace.htm.
Hitchens, Theresa 2002, "Space weapons: More Security or Less," in Future Security in Space: Commercial, Military and Arms Control Trade-Offs, ed. James clay Moltz, Occasional Paper No. 10, Joint Publication of The center for Nonproliferation non·pro·lif·er·a·tion
Of, relating to, or calling for an end to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by additional nations: a nonproliferation treaty. Studies and The Mountbatten centre for International Studies, pp. 28-31. [Online] Available from http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/opapers/op10/op10.pdf.
Javits, Eric M. 2002. "A U.S. Perspective on Space." in Future Security in Space: Commercial, Military and Arms Control Trade-Offs, ed. James clay Moltz, Occasional Paper No. 10, Joint Publication of The center for Nonproliferation Studies and The Mountbatten centre for International Studies. pp. 51-53. [Online] Available from http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/opapers/op10/op10.pdf.
Levy, Dawn 2002, "sally Ride speaks on the Tactical Role of Space and War," Space Daily, April 22. [Online] Available from http://www.spacedaily.com/news/milspace-02n.html.
Mehrholz, D., Leushacke, L., Flury. W., Jehn, R., Klinkrad, H. Landgraf, M. 2002, Detecting, Tracking and Imaging Space Debris, European Space Agency European Space Agency (ESA), multinational agency dedicated to the promotion, for exclusively peaceful purposes, of cooperation among European states in space research and technology. Bulletin 109, February, pp. 28-34. [Online] Available from http://esapub.esrin.esa.it/bulletin/bullet109/mehrholz.pdf.
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Spacy spac·y or spac·ey
adj. spac·i·er, spac·i·est Slang
1. Stupefied or disoriented from or as if from drug use.
2. Eccentric; offbeat.
Adj. 1. , William L. 11 1999, "Does the United States Need Space-Based Weapons?" CADRE Paper for College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education, Air University, Air University Press, September.
UN General Assembly 2002, A/C.1/57/L.30, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, First Committee Voting Record, 57th Session of the UN General Assembly, 21 October. [Online] Available from http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/lcom/1com02/vote/voteindex.html.
United States Department of Defense 2002, "DOD (1) (Dial On Demand) A feature that allows a device to automatically dial a telephone number. For example, an ISDN router with dial on demand will automatically dial up the ISP when it senses IP traffic destined for the Internet. Announces Merger of U.S. Space and Strategic Commands," News Release No. 331-02, June 26. [Online] Available from www.defenselink.mil/news/June2002/b06262002_bt331-02.html.
Westdal, Ambassador Christopher 2001, Testimony on PAROS for Delivery by Ambassador Westdal at the "Disarmament week" Seminar, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , 11 October. [Online] Available from http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/armas/outer6-en.asp.