Space and Defense

Space and Defense


This article is republished here with permission from the author. See “Building the Architecture for Sustainable Space Security,” Conference Report, 30-31 March 2006, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

The specific question addressed here is: what progress could be made at a possible Outer Space Treaty (OST) Revision Conference and how should a possible Revision Conference unfold?”1 The answer to the question as framed is, with serious trepidation and extreme caution. However, the question contains the assumption that a revision conference for the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty) ought to occur. The response to that assumption is, at this point in time, to leave the Outer Space Treaty alone. Regardless of how compelling or meritorious the reason for revising the Outer Space Treaty may appear to be, the fact is there is much more to lose than there is to gain. This article begins with an overview of the Outer Space Treaty, a brief discussion of its provisions and its likely status during a revision conference. It then raises the hard questions that must be addressed in a discussion about potentially revising the treaty. A conclusion follows.





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