Paper Title

PAROS and STM in the UN: more than just acronym soup

Presentation Type

Paper (supporting PowerPoints may be added as Additional Files)

Location

Bass Auditorium

Start Date

27-2-2019 10:45 AM

Abstract

For nearly forty years, the United Nations (UN) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD) have been at a stalemate over the agenda item Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). Yet 2018 saw the emergence of not one but three UN initiatives aimed directly at PAROS, namely the Subsidiary Body on PAROS of the CD, a UN Group of Governmental Experts on PAROS and the UN Disarmament Commission Working Group on Space Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures. Each of these initiatives represents a parallel dialogue that offers different strategies for dealing with the challenges that face human space activities today. These range from discussing elements for a legally-binding instrument to non-binding best practice guidelines.

Space-traffic management (STM) is central to the PAROS discussions because STM policies and capabilities will determine how States monitor and verify any rules or guidelines established for outer space activities. Space Situational Awareness (SSA) technology will provide the physical means to see who is doing what in outer space, whilst an STM governance framework will provide the rubric against which to measure. However, challenges remain. SSA technology is not ubiquitous, and the amount of data that is shared with the public—or even between governments—is still limited, particularly when it comes to military activities.

My paper will, therefore, discuss how national policies on STM and SSA-data sharing, like Space Policy Directive 3, will have an impact on the range of options available to pursue PAROS and other TCBMs in the UN.

Area of Interest

Current Initiatives

Comments

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Feb 27th, 10:45 AM

PAROS and STM in the UN: more than just acronym soup

Bass Auditorium

For nearly forty years, the United Nations (UN) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD) have been at a stalemate over the agenda item Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). Yet 2018 saw the emergence of not one but three UN initiatives aimed directly at PAROS, namely the Subsidiary Body on PAROS of the CD, a UN Group of Governmental Experts on PAROS and the UN Disarmament Commission Working Group on Space Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures. Each of these initiatives represents a parallel dialogue that offers different strategies for dealing with the challenges that face human space activities today. These range from discussing elements for a legally-binding instrument to non-binding best practice guidelines.

Space-traffic management (STM) is central to the PAROS discussions because STM policies and capabilities will determine how States monitor and verify any rules or guidelines established for outer space activities. Space Situational Awareness (SSA) technology will provide the physical means to see who is doing what in outer space, whilst an STM governance framework will provide the rubric against which to measure. However, challenges remain. SSA technology is not ubiquitous, and the amount of data that is shared with the public—or even between governments—is still limited, particularly when it comes to military activities.

My paper will, therefore, discuss how national policies on STM and SSA-data sharing, like Space Policy Directive 3, will have an impact on the range of options available to pursue PAROS and other TCBMs in the UN.