Promoting Responsible Behavior in Space

The Defense Department continues to support the State Department’s work with the European Union in coming up with an international code of conduct for space, despite resistance from some members of Congress who worry that such a code would actually infringe upon US national security. “A widely subscribed code can encourage responsible space behavior . . . while reducing the risk of misunderstanding and misconduct,” Gregory Schulte, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told members of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel Thursday. The Joint Staff has already conducted an assessment of the existing EU draft code and developed a mitigation strategy, he said. That strategy “included some changes to the code” as well as some guidance “that, in our judgment, would make sure that any code would be fully supportive of our national security,” said Schulte. The Joint Staff will assess any revised drafts before the United States agrees to adopt the voluntary code, he said. (See also United States Seeks Voluntary Space Code of Conduct.)