CIPS Policy Brief No. 9, October 2010

  • Canada and other countries rely on a vast network of satellites for communication, navigating and remote sensing functions. If these satellites became targets of attack, the impact on international commerce, security and development would be enormous.
  • Although outer space does not yet contain weapons, international legal restrictions on the weaponization of outer space remain weak.
  • In June, the Obama Administration issued a National Space Policy that signaled new U.S. opennes to international cooperation on space security, but the document is short on specifics.
  • Canada should vigorously promote its own proposals for stronger arms control arrangements in outer space. Doing so might encourage the U.S. and European Union to come forward with more substantial and detailed proposals of their own.

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Paul Meyer is a retired Foreign Service Officer and former Canadian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva (2003-2007). He served as Special Coordinator for the CD discussion of its agenda item on “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space” during its 2007 session.