U.S. Space Force by Ian Kim (A23)

by Chris Burke
Feb 04

The second panel in ALLIES’ Seventh Annual Civil Military Relations Conference (CMRC) addressed the US Space Force and its implications for security in space. Dr. Andrea Harrington, Department Chair of the Department of Spacepower at Air Command and Staff College, used her expertise in international law to discuss the legality of space operations and the Space Force. She explained that international agreements, such as the Outer Space Treaty, do not ban military activities except for placing weapons of mass destruction in space. She also argued that the Space Force is actually beneficial for international law, as it increases transparency and awareness of American space operations.

When asked about potential changes to space policy between the Trump and Biden administrations, Dr. Harrington said she expects progression rather than full change between the two presidents. Trump expanded upon and clarified existing Obama-era space policies rather than creating a new space policy. She expects Biden to enact the same levels of change, creating continuity within the Space Force and commercial space policy.

Dr. Harrington also stressed the need for more international rules and guidelines regarding space. As barriers to becoming involved in space have gone down over the last 10-20 years, more countries and actors will enter the domain. This will increase the need for treaties to be updated and legal frameworks to be established so countries can manage and take responsibility for the actions of their private entities in space.

Watch the recording here: