19 January 2012
The U.S. Defense and State departments both endorse a U.S. initiative unveiled this week to develop a multilateral code of conduct for space operations in conjunction with the European Union, the Pentagon said on Wednesday (see GSN, Jan. 18).
The departments previously suggested restrictions on U.S. policy options could result from proposed EU rules intended to serve as a basis for the code's development, according to a previous report. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday announced the effort to establish an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.
The Pentagon "supports the concept” of such rules, spokesman George Little said. “An international code of conduct can enhance U.S. national security by encouraging responsible space behavior by reducing the risk of mishaps, misperceptions and mistrust.”
The preliminary EU rules offer "a promising basis for an international code,” Little said (U.S. Defense Department release, Jan. 18).
One U.S. lawmaker, though, expressed reservations about the plan.
“Based on briefings that have been provided to the House Armed Services
Committee (HASC), the administration’s intention to sign the U.S. up for
[an] EU code of conduct-type space arms control regime would have far
reaching consequences. Furthermore, the end goals of this announcement are
murky at best," Representative Michael Turner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.