Technology Opens Military Space

November 4, 2010 at 7:35 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Aviation Week

As space becomes more important to military operations, the flimsiness of the laws and conventions that govern space operations is more apparent. It’s not so much that the structure has become weaker as that technological and industrial developments have exposed its failings.

Recent years have seen a satellite shoot-down demonstration by China in January 2007, followed a year later by the U.S. shoot-down of the malfunctioning USA 193 spacecraft. There have also been reported incidents of deliberate non-kinetic interference with U.S. spacecraft.

Analyst Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation, speaking at a symposium on deterrence in Omaha, Neb., noted that Chinese doctrine makes no distinction between deterrence and compellance (making an adversary take an action, rather than refraining), and that deterrence extends across all domains, including conventional, cyber and space. Cheng said China’s policy of compellance and deterrence stresses the importance of demonstrating the will to act, as the 2007 test did.

China, added Cheng, sees the U.S. Schriever X space wargame—conducted at Nellis AFB, Nev., in May—as a demonstration of intent, and although China has proposed to stop the “weaponization” of space, these proposals encompass only weapons on-orbit, not ground-launched systems or orbital sensors…more

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