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>Obama to Seek Space Weapons Ban


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National Defense by Arms Control Treaty

Following a campaign promise, the Barack Obama administration plans to seek a total ban on space weapons. In so doing, Barack Obama is going down the largely discredited path of national defense by ar

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Obama to Seek Space Weapons Ban

ms control treaty.

Previous attempts at arms control have proven daunting, due to challenges of inspection and verification as well as the tendency of nations unfriendly to the United States to cheat on such agreements. An example of this type of cheating occurred in the 1980s when the Soviet Union was caught building an ABM capable radar system north of the Mongolian border in violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty.

Verification would be an even more immense challenge for the implementation of the space weapons ban. Something that looks like a weather satellite could very easily be a space weapon, ready to destroy military satellites in the event of war. An inspection regime that would allow the examination of every satellite launched in the world would be all but impossible to negotiate, considering the desire of sovereign countries to keep their military satellites secret and private companies to protect proprietary knowledge of their satellites.

The number of countries capable of developing space weapons is likely to increase, especially if the rise of a commercial launch allows for inexpensive deployment of those weapons. One cannot imagine that a country such as Iran or North Korea would ever agree to a space weapons ban or would adhere to it once agreed to.

A total ban on space weapons would likely not only disallow the deployment of offensive weapons, capable of taking out military and commercial targets in space, but also defensive weapons. These defensive weapons would include those designed to defend space assets against attack and the space based portion of a potential anti ballistic missile defense system.