International Institute of Space Law


Space Force: The Harbinger of Cold War 2?

Authors Sri Aditya Kumar, Omkar Hemanth en Jeevan Justin
Author's information

Sri Aditya Kumar
Sri Aditya Kumar, National Law University Odisha.

Omkar Hemanth
Omkar Hemanth, National Law University Odisha.

Jeevan Justin
Jeevan Justin, National Law University Odisha.
  • Abstract

      The US Space Force, established recently, is the sixth arm of the US Military. While the Force has not yet engaged in military activities in Outer Space, its parent act, the National Defence Authorisation Act, 2020, does not preclude the possibility of placing weapons, deploying trained personnel or even constructing bases in Outer Space. Further, it is pertinent to note that the legislation does not provide for undertaking dedicated risk assessments, which are required in order to anticipate and prevent harm to the space environment. These possibilities pose a serious threat to the peaceful use of outer space. Even though self-defence is often considered to be an inherent right of a State, the authors believe that the act of establishing commands and training individuals for warfighting missions in space is currently unnecessary, since such a practice has not been adopted by other space-faring nations. The institution of such a military force by the United States would lead to the creation of similar forces by other States, leading to a new arms race in Outer Space, which would further result in a circumstance where weapons in Outer Space would be inevitable and irreversible. Therefore, in order to keep Outer Space as a conflict-free zone, this paper aims to analyse the existing legal framework in light of recent developments, looks for solutions in general international law, and seeks to apply the same to the realm of outer space.

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