Missile Defense and Space Security

Speakers:

  • Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.,
  • Robert F. Turner,
  • Leonard Weiss,
  • Dean Reuter

Space and U.S. national security are deeply entwined. The U.S. military is tremendously dependent upon satellites for intelligence gathering and for guiding military operations, and the most promising ballistic missile defense systems are space-based. Proponents of developing space-based military capabilities, including the Bush administration, maintain that this development is essential to protecting the American people and their interests. Opponents, however, argue that such development will lead to a space arms race with at least the Chinese, will hurt the U.S.’s global standing, and will actually make America less secure. What is the current state of the law- international treaties, in particular- in terms of U.S. obligations? Would a multilateral approach of demilitarizing space, including the acceptance of new legal obligations through additional international treaties, be a better way of protecting America’s interests?

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