27 September 2010. ESPI Report 28 seeks to address potential uses of Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBM) to advance space security as well as provides a number of recommendations.


Space-related benefits in the 21st century are accompanied by the advent of both intentional and unintentional threats to peaceful use of space and there is a growing international consensus concerning the need for greater transparency in space-related activities as well as confidence-building measures to reduce the prospects of disruption to space systems. The study entitled “The Role of Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Advancing Space Security” examines transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBM) as a set of tools that are designed to display, predict and discipline states’ behaviour with respect to maintaining the security of space. 


The study first analyses terrestrial TCBMs, as well as different implementation modalities, with a goal to understand better what political arrangement may be possible in space, including certain precedents in the area of nuclear arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. Space-related TCBMs and proposed space security management regimes are then examined to highlight the advantages and shortcomings of each. In this connection, the current and emerging challenges in space, including orbital space debris, risk of collisions, the growing saturation of the radiofrequency spectrum, the crowding of satellites in geostationary satellite orbit (GEO), and threat of purposeful disruption are evaluated in the context of ongoing unilateral, bilateral, multilateral, and private initiatives to increase space situational awareness and security. The EU Draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities is likewise evaluated as a possibly suitable model for internationally-supportable space security management. Finally, a number of conclusions and recommendations are offered, including the importance of employing TCBMs prior to “incidents”. 


ESPI Resident Fellow Jana Robinson as a moderator at one of recent ESPI events (second from left), together with Peter Hays (the Eisenhower Center)
, Theresa Hitchens (UNIDIR) and Tanja Masson-Zwaan (Leiden/IISL) 

The study, conducted by Jana Robinson, ESPI Resident Fellow, also benefited from a conference on space security and space tourism, co-organized by ESPI and the University of Nebraska College of Law’s Space and Telecom Law Program, the first day of which was dedicated to Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures. The summary of the conference proceedings can be found in ESPI Report 27 entitled “Prospects for Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Space”. 

- ESPI Report 28: “The Role of Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Advancing Space Security” available online  

Related Webnews: 
- 24 September 2010. ESPI Report 27 on “Prospects for Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Space” available online
- 7 May 2010. ESPI explores trans-Atlantic perspectives on space security together with UNL

photo credit: ESPI

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