31 May 2010. Issue 32 of the "ESPI Perspectives" series investigates how the European Union's Draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities could acquire wider support and become the vehicle for an international agreement on this subject.
There are three generic types of international agreements that have been proposed to enhance space security. Comprehensive proposals call for bans on space weapons and/or space warfare, such as China and Russia’s PPWT. Partial bans of space weapons and/or space warfare may focus, for example, on the testing of destructive anti-satellite weapons. Others call for “rules of the road” or a code of conduct. These proposals may overlap in some respects. For example, some codes of conduct include provisions that would ban the testing or use of destructive anti-satellite weapons. The European Union’s leadership on developing, disclosing, endorsing, and promoting its Draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities has been useful and welcome. But more work is required to move this useful initiative forward, and the European Union is well positioned to do so. Some key questions remain about how best to advance this initiative: what venue would be most appropriate for discussing this initiative? And can major space-faring nations, including Russia and China, be brought on board, and if so, how?
Samuel Black, the author of “ESPI Perspectives 32”
Samuel Black is a Research Associate with Stimson’s Space Security and South Asia programs. Prior to joining the Center, he worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Defense Information, where he focused on Space Security and Missile Defense issues. He holds a BA in Government and Politics and a Master’s degree in Public Policy, both from the University of Maryland. He was a Presidential Management Fellowship Finalist for 2008 and was awarded the Capt. William P. Cole III Peace Fellowship by the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy.