As the tools and methods of warfare continue to evolve, it is critical that arms control, disarmament, and normative regimes also advance. Warfighting applications of today’s emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), outer space, and cyber capabilities are becoming more apparent andhold enormous potential for expansion if left unregulated. Such capabilities clearly have the potential to be used in harming civilians, violating international humanitarian law, and creating unpredictable and even unintended escalation of conflict. In this context, compliance with existing arms control measures and humanitarian principles is essential. Yet new arms control frameworks are also needed to mitigate these risks and maintain global commitments to disarmament.
Space is increasingly critical to modern life on Earth. But there is growing concern that, as it becomes more economically and strategically important, tensions between different space actors are heightening in a manner that could lead to conflict. The accelerating proliferation of counterspace capabilities, as well as the enactment of national policies that deem space an operational or warfighting domain, underlines the very real nature of threats that exist and highlights the importance of keeping space peaceful.
On December 7, 2020, the United Kingdom-sponsored United Nations Resolution A/RES/75/36 was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Seeking to focus the global discussion on outer space security on ways of “reducing threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour,” the objective is to build consensus on what it means to be a “responsible” actor in outer space.
Threats to the security of outer space are growing. More pronouncements that space is a warfighting domain are augmented by periodic accusations of, and demonstrations of, weapons tests. The latest research on global counterspace capabilities reveals an expanding and accelerating proliferation of capabilities that can target and harm objects in space.
In this video, Senior Researcher Jessica West presents work conducted as part of a project funded by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) Mobilizing Insights in National Defence (MINDS) …
As part of a wider research project that is mapping the normative landscape in outer space with the aim of informing the further development of norms related to space-based military capabilities and activities, we invited global space experts to participate in a survey that was open from May 15 to June 10.