Congressionally-Mandated Commission Recommends U.S. Develop and Pursue Options to Increase Stability in Outer Space

Congressionally-Mandated Commission Recommends U.S. Develop and Pursue Options to Increase Stability in Outer Space

The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States has recommended that the United States —

“Develop and pursue options for advancing U.S. interests in stability in outer space and in increasing warning and decision-time. The options should include the possibility of negotiated measures.”

The bi-partisan commission was chaired by William J. Perry and vice-chaired by James R. Schlesinger, both former secretaries of defense.

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The Commission was established pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008. Its 12 members were appointed equally by the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. The other 10 members were: Harry Cartland, John Foster, John Glenn, Morton Halperin, Lee Hamilton, Fred Ikle, Keith Payne, Bruce Tarter, Ellen Williams and James Woolsey. Their work was facilitated by, and the report was published by, the U.S. Institute of Peace.

In its chapter on arms control, the Commission stated that:

“As part of its work, the Commission surveyed other arms control issues. Two further proposed measures require discussion here. The first is arms control in space. Russia and China are keenly interested in such control, not least because they hope that such measures can be used to limit U.S. missile defenses. The Bush administration took a strong stance against it. This is an issue that will not disappear. The strong dependence of U.S. conventional military forces on space-based communications and sensors makes this an issue of great and continuing importance. There are other serious civilian issues such as space situational awareness, space debris, and space traffic management that could be used to develop international discussion and working relationships. The actual promise of space arms control is unclear. In the Commission’s view, the United States should seriously study these issues and prepare to lead an international debate about how to craft a control regime in space that serves its national security interests and the broader interests of the international community.” (emphasis added)

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