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.”

It’s back: Space-based missile defence

Jessica West Featured, Space Security

Like boomerangs, some bad ideas keep coming back. Space-based missile defence has been pursued intermittently by the United States since the launch of the Space Age. Now, under Donald Trump, America is once again dreaming that it can protect itself from nuclear-armed missiles by deploying a “shield” of interceptors in outer space. Closely resembling President Reagan’s derided “Star Wars,” this …