Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Searchable Course Catalog

header image

IPOL 8604

Sem: Space Security

1957 simultaneously opened the space age and started the Cold War space race. This course will be an overview of Space Security with an emphasis on current developments and how technical issues impact space security and space policy-making. The value of space to global economic development and security has grown exponentially since 1957. Space “touches” every one of us in our daily lives—we use satellites for communications via telephony and the Internet, for banking transfers, for GPS, for agricultural management, for weather prediction, for disaster relief and telemedicine among many other applications. At the same time, the space environment has become more vulnerable to degradation and disruption. Space debris pollution and the increase in the number of satellites on orbit have raised the risks of satellite collisions. Intentional Anti-Satellite (ASAT) tests can also create tremendous amounts of debris. Crowding in certain highly-desirable orbits has led to friction among states wishing to utilize those orbits. And, of even greater concern is the fact that as more states seek to gain military and political advantage through the use of space assets, the risk of con?ict in space has grown. Indeed, the International Telecommunication Union has noted in recent years an alarming up-tick in instances of deliberate interference with satellites. The twin issues of securing space for peaceful purposes and the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) have been on the international agenda for decades. However, only in the past few years have efforts to craft multilateral discussions begun to ripen into action. In 2010 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution to establish a Group of Governmental Experts on transparency and con?dence-building measures for space, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space launched work on developing best practices to ensure the long-term sustainability of the space environment, the European Union began discussions with non-EU states on its proposed international Code of Conduct for space, and Russia and China intensi?ed efforts to promote within the Conference on Disarmament the negotiation of a treaty to prevent the weaponization of space. This course will review the legal, technical and political opportunities and challenges to various approaches and activities and pre-view possible future accords.
International Policy
International Policy
Intl Policy & Management
Requirements Fulfilled: