The military use of space, including in support of nuclear weapons infrastructure, has greatly increased over the past 30 years. In the current era, rising geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia and China have led to assumptions in all three major space powers that warfighting in space now is inevitable, and possible because of rapid technological advancements. New capabilities for disrupting and destroying satellites include radio-frequency jamming, the use of lasers, maneuverable space objects and more capable direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons. This situation, however, threatens international security and stability among nuclear powers. There is a continuing and necessary role for diplomacy, especially the establishment of normative rules of behavior, to reduce risks of misperceptions and crisis escalation, including up to the use of nuclear weapons. U.S. policy and strategy should seek a balance between traditional military approaches to protecting its space assets and diplomatic tools to create a more secure space environment.

Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial bodies
” (Outer Space Treaty) entered into force in 1967. Text of the treaty is found here:
As of July 2017, there are 107 parties to the Outer Space Treaty, with 23 signatories awaiting ratification.
Radio-frequency interference is governed by the International Telecommunication Union, which is a treaty-based body and to which almost every space-faring state is a party.
, “
Russian Satellite Relocates – Next To Another Intelsat Craft
,” Space News, Oct. 16, 2015,
, “
Clues Emerge Over Mystery Satellite Soon After Launch
,” Spaceflight Now, Sept. 9, 2009,
See: Theresa Hitchens and Joan Johnson-Freese, “
Toward a New National Security Space Strategy: Time for a Strategic Rebalancing
,” Atlantic Council Strategy Paper No. 5,
Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects
,” introduced to the Conference on Disarmament by the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, Feb. 29, 2008; updated June 12, 2014,
For text of the GGE Report
, see:
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