Republicans Wary of EU Code for Space Activity; Administration to Outline Defense, Intelligence Policy

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 4, 2011 | Go to article overview

Republicans Wary of EU Code for Space Activity; Administration to Outline Defense, Intelligence Policy


Byline: Eli Lake, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Republican opposition in the Senate could scuttle the Obama administration's plans to sign on to the European Union's Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, an agreement that critics say could limit U.S. development and deployment of anti-satellite weapons.

Key Senate Republicans are urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to consult with the relevant Senate panels before signing the agreement.

The Obama administration is expected to unveil Friday the U.S. National Security Space Strategy, a classified document outlining how the Defense Department and the intelligence community will implement the administration's space policy.

An unclassified summary of that strategy obtained by The Washington Times says the United States will pursue more confidence-building mechanisms and transparency measures with regard to its activities in space.

We will consider proposals and concepts for arms control measures if they are equitable, effectively verifiable, and enhance the national security of the United States and its allies, the summary states. We believe setting pragmatic guidelines for safe activity in space can help avoid collisions and other debris-producing events, reduce radiofrequency interference, and promote security and stability in the space domain - all of which are in the interests of all nations.

However, the strategy also reserves the right to respond to aggression in space.

The United States will retain the right and capabilities to respond in self-defense, should deterrence fail. We will use force in a manner that is consistent with longstanding principles of international law, treaties to which the United States is a party, and the inherent right of self defense, it says.

In recent months, the United States has reached out to the Russian and Chinese governments to discuss rules of the road for satellites, said U.S. officials familiar with the diplomacy. The Chinese so far have spurned offers to discuss space issues with the United States; the Russians have started technical talks.

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Republicans Wary of EU Code for Space Activity; Administration to Outline Defense, Intelligence Policy
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