Critics Hit Forthcoming Space Security Strategy

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The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to unveil a new National Security Space Strategy, and the unreleased document is already being criticized by one group for not promoting arms control agreements for space.

The White House in June released the first new U.S. National Space Policy since 2006, placing emphasis on international cooperation in areas such as collision avoidance, debris mitigation and satellite development.

The new National Security Space Strategy is expected to follow a similar tone in emphasizing steps to strengthen the security of the space environment, according to a Jan. 19 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) press release. The new strategy, however, will not go far enough in recommending that the United States take the lead on space diplomacy, the UCS said.

The strategy is likely to encourage bilateral discussions and confidence-building and transparency measures, but it will not recognize the important role that arms control agreements could play in keeping the space environment secure, said Laura Grego, a senior scientist with the UCS’s Global Security Program.

“Agreed-upon limits on weapons in space and interfering with satellites could strengthen stability and security in space and on the ground, and such limits should be part of the U.S. national security strategy,” Grego said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the National Space Policy had little to say about this issue, and it is unlikely that the new space strategy will urge the United States to take the lead on it.”