Has the first shot been fired in space?

Jessica West Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

What if space has already been weaponized? This is the claim of the United States military. Following the official establishment of the Space Force in January 2020, a new Defense Space Strategy published in June presents a strategy for “winning wars” in a domain that it depicts as “weaponized” by Russia and China. Russia and China have made similar accusations against the United States.

A delicate balance: Responding to a crisis with surveillance tech  

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, News

As more surveillance technologies are being used in this fight, a broader conversation has begun on the need to balance the demands of public health with the preservation of privacy and human rights.

Canada to support a ban on autonomous weapons 

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, News

The question now is what happens next and how will the mandate be implemented when UN discussions on this issue resume in June. While fully autonomous weapons systems do not yet exist, experts agree that they soon will.

How to keep outer space weapons-free

Jessica West Current Publication, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

The history of arms control in outer space reads like a success story. Outer space is one of the few domains of human activity in which the focus has been on prevention. Although military satellites that provide communications, remote sensing, navigation, and timing services once dominated space and continue to provide essential military services, their operations have long been considered peaceful. Those of us working in space security say that space is “militarized but not weaponized.”

The “plutonium of AI”: Facial-recognition technology

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Current Publication, Emerging Technologies, Featured

San Francisco became the first city in the United States to ban law-enforcement and government agencies from using facial-recognition technology, which identifies individuals by facial features. Civil liberties advocates hope other cities and countries will soon produce their own versions of the “Stop Secret Surveillance” ordinance.

Preserving the peace

Jessica West Current Publication, Space Security

A new space race is on. Symbolized by the historic landing of China’s robotic explorer on the far side of the Moon, the goal this time is to create a permanent human presence on the Moon and beyond.

Why the chances of conflict in outer space are going up

Jessica West Featured, Space Security

U.S. President Trump’s desire to create a Space Force—a new military branch focused solely on outer space operations—has drawn public attention to the prospects of warfare in a domain that has been used only for peaceful and passive purposes. Despite the provocative name, the proposed mission would in many ways be mundane: the command and control of spacecraft rather than …

The AI arms race: The Cold War mindset returns

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Featured

Concerns about an artificial-intelligence (AI) arms race between advanced militaries have been raised by many experts and analysts, including SpaceX founder Elon Musk and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Scientists and engineers are also becoming increasingly vocal in discussions on the weaponization of AI, urging governments to develop regulations to prohibit certain applications of AI in weapons technology. But they …

Under Stress: Space Security in 2017

Jessica West News, Space Security

The annual assessment of the security of outer space released at the United Nations last week warns of mounting stress from a combination of rapid technology change and geopolitical tensions.  Space Security Index 2017 tracks developments and activities related to four indicators of the security of outer space – environmental sustainability, access to and use of space, technologies for space …