EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016 Special Session 2
Chair: Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS 
Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House 
Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies 
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation 
Laura Grego, Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Provisonal Transcript

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Good afternoon, everybody. It is always a bit challenging to pick up the main good specialists out of a fascinating discussion in and post coffee. Let us try to answer the challenge and start on time – well, already we are three minutes’ late.

We are here to talk about space and we are trying to make this discussion as interesting as possible, because space is an issue that moves extremely quickly. Three years or even two years ago, the mantra was ‘we need a code of conduct’ and that was, first and foremost, a European mantra, but everybody from Russia to Washington accepted the idea. Now, today, you know that the situation is changing quickly. First, there is no political appetite for the time being to go for a full‑fledged code of conduct. It remains on the table, but the momentum is moving to other issues, because there are new mantras appearing. You know also that the technical aspects of the problem of debris, which was the origin of a code of conduct, are also moving, because you have new technological developments, which make us hope that one day we will be able to track and maybe destroy or clean some of outer space. You have seen new threats emerging, the main one being cyber. Since I am in charge inter alia of the security of some European space systems, such as Galileo, I can tell you cyber security if of more concern to us today than debris.

The answers are also changing, there are new mantras emerging. Today, what are the approaches that seem to have some steam? You have, first, the approaches within the UN framework, with the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPIOS) in Vienna, the development of guidelines for responsible behaviour. You have the approaches based on transparency and confidence‑building measures (TCBMs), which is a very interesting way of approaching the security and strategic context in outer space. You have also bilateral efforts, the most visible being recently the United States‑Chinese one, but let us see if by having bilateral commitments on several space issues we can begin building up an architecture and we have obviously a number of industrial new answers to that.

The mantras are changing. In the US, you will see new mantras emerging about the field domain and the need to operate in a contested and complex domain. At the EU, we also must change our mantra. We are possibly not in the same position than two or three years ago, able to propose norms and to be seen as a completely impartial deal proponent. Now we are more involved in difficulties in various parts of our neighbourhood. There is also a fundamental change that you all know, but you do not maybe understand fully the consequences, which is that soon the European Union, as an actor, as a person, will be the first European space power. This means that instead of being on the side, first, of those who propose norms, we are going to a position of those who have assets in the sky and who are users, so there is a mantra that has evolved and for a small part of where the EU is concerned – which is not so small, by the way – we are moving a bit, still faithful to our norm‑based approach, but developing now a user‑based approach because, as a user, with Galileo and tomorrow maybe with other programmes that involve satcom or weather observation or whatever, we need to have, as you have seen in the Space Strategy, which is just one week old, there are a number of issues now that are of great interest to the European Union, which are very different from those of three years ago.

We are five here; four of us are going to try to answer your concerns. On the threat side, we are going to see how the threat is moving, first, Patricia, who will, as maybe the first European specialist, talk about space and cyber security. We are very honoured to have Patricia with us. Tal will then present threats, remedies and mitigation, focusing on two specific but fundamental aspects maybe, which are the non‑state actors on one hand and the industrial actors on the others. We will then move to a more classic, I would say, but a new one, however, CBM approach. Raji will talk to you about TCBMs. Finally, Laura will talk to us about how the US and its partners are adapting to the new context of space as a contested or disputed and increasingly complex environment, as is the whole of international society if we believe the global strategy of [inaudible].

Without further ado, we do not have too much time, so I will ask for each of the interventions to be about eight or nine minutes to leave the possibility of then having a full round of questions. Patricia, the floor is yours.

Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Thank you, Francois. Thank you, all of you, for coming. I am going to talk about something that is a newly understood threat, perhaps, and it is newly understood in part because of the whole issue of cyber security and our new understanding of that. Many of you will have seen yesterday, for example, the UK launched its national cyber security strategy, which will take us 2021. The issue of cyber security and critical infrastructure has been a big focus and, as you know, last year we produced a report on cyber security in the nuclear industry.

What we have been working on over the last few years is the vulnerability of the space‑based infrastructure to the cyber threat and there are a couple of important things to note. One is that the space‑based system in terms of our satellite infrastructure is a primary part of critical infrastructure all over the world. That is the most critical thing to understand. Therefore, what happens in space happens on earth, what matters in space matters on earth, it is not divided. The other is that of course what space is and the way we communicate with earth is through uplinks and downlinks and it is information; we send information up; we send information down. So, we can think of – and I do think of – space as a big cyber platform. I am beginning to think of everything in terms of digits, including all of you sitting in the room and me, in terms of our DNA; we are all information. This information that goes up and down is as vulnerable to cyber interference as other types of information unless we do something about it.

Those are the two most important things. Are they attractive to cyber‑attack? The answer is it depends. It depends on who the threat actor might be. It certainly seems to be attractive for some states and we have had accusations made already of state‑to‑state interference. It may be attractive to non‑state actors and Tal is going to speak about that. Whether or not they have the capability as yet, we do not know. We are in a new cat‑and‑mouse game about who has what capability, what vulnerabilities exist, what vulnerabilities can be addressed and patched and taken care of.

The other thing to be aware of is that so much that is up in space is up in space for a long time and so much of it is old. There is new stuff going up all the time and, funnily enough, much of the new stuff is not being cyber secured as yet; some of it, some of it is not. The military tend to be further advanced, thank God, than the civil sector and the civil sector is lagging behind. So, what can be done?

There are two types of attacks that we have identified as worthy of some in‑depth consideration. The first of those is taking control of the satellites themselves in some way. That is when you have potential attacks at the ground stations and through the ground stations to the on‑board computers. You can use cyber attacks to take control of the industrial control systems, to manoeuvre satellites, to de‑orbit satellites, to turn satellite solar panels to highly ionising radiation and damage them. You can do all sorts of other things with them, which may not be as interesting. Many of those things could cause debris and, therefore, might not be so attractive to state players, depending on the situation. This is a question we can discuss, but there have been kinetic attacks where debris has been caused and everyone can see that, in the end, you might be literally shooting yourself in the foot, as we say. You might be doing yourself more damage by destroying someone else’s satellite.

However, in 2007/2008, we know of penetrations into US satellites that stopped short of issuing commands, but let those observing or have observed later be aware that all necessary steps to do so had been acquired. Taking control of industrial control systems, we know from the work we have done on the civil nuclear industry and we know from energy, is very possible and attempts to do so are happening quite often. This is a real concern. We also know that, last year, Russia accused Ukraine of attempting to decay the orbit of a Russian satellite.

More significantly is new ways to jam and, more importantly, spoof or manipulate data and this is where it comes to the issue of global navigational systems and the positional, navigational and timing data (PNT) on which we rely. In your phones, in all your electronics, you have receivers for GPS; it will include Galileo and other types of maybe regional global positioning data. What you probably do not know is that within electronics, throughout most of our industry, the electronics also receive this information. There have been many well‑known demonstrations of this, but one is to go into a not necessarily a nuclear power station, any power station which is offline, have all the electronics on and just take in a GPS jammer and all the electronics will go off, they will just shut down. That is just signal interference, we all know how to do that, but you can do that much more cleverly with cyber interference and you can do that by manipulating the data, so you could send – and, luckily, they have been thinking about this – the wrong navigational data to aircraft. You can send the wrong navigational data to shipping and they have not been thinking about this very much until recently. In fact, we know that there are people now using this technique to send the wrong data out that makes them look as though they are fishing in one part where they are allowed to fish, but they are somewhere else where they are not allowed to fish. This is already going on, not necessarily through satellite interference but certainly through positioning data interference.

What you may not know is that all our financial transactions rely on this timing data. This timing data you can play quite a lot within the small amount of time that there is and there are ways in which you can manipulate that data to falsify transactions and interfere with the stock market. I do not know if that has already happened, but I would not be surprised if it had.

Those are the three main concerns that we have on cyber security of the satellite infrastructure. What can we do about it? In our report that we have just produced – I have one here and you can get it online – it looks at this in some depth. We outline all of the incidents that we know of, we assume there are others; in cyber security generally the attacks are under‑reported. What we have learnt is that we need to develop a culture of security by design. You have heard that in the nuclear field ad nauseam, you have heard it through many other things and, believe it or not, this is not happening in cyber security. The Internet of Things, in which satellites play a really important role and all of the sensors that we have play a really important role, these are also not secured by design. So, we have developed the internet, we have developed this whole understanding of cyber security, but we are not applying it to newly manufactured gadgets, newly manufactured equipment, newly manufactured satellites. We are not applying it to the whole system and we need to do that.

How do we do it? We think we need a multi‑stakeholder approach that brings in industry, governments, international organisations and people who are thinking about these things to develop a light‑footed but nonetheless well-structured framework for making sure that there is cyber security in the supply chain, in the whole manufacture of satellites and in the whole way we think about it.

We also think that it might be worth looking at the next generation of satellites and we note with interest the new satellite that China has just put into orbit using the principle of quantum entanglement in the communication. I will leave it at that. Thank you, Francois.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you very much, Patricia; very important and concerning but, for me, the main threats and challenges there. Tal, your turn. How can we mitigate that?

Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

I want to add a little bit more to the threat part but, first, I am overwhelmed by the room: it is like being in a palace. Last April, I was briefing some senators and congressmen in the US Capitol; this is better, especially from the audience point of view.

When we are speaking about the challenges and threats to space assets, it is not only about satellites and it is not only about the information that you can hack or manipulate. A space asset comprises the satellite itself in space, the communications and the ground segments and the ground segments are, I think, at great risk of being attacked, not only through the cyber world but a suicide bomber in a truck or a car hitting a ground station could be very effective in terms of the hostile part. We all know about anti‑satellite weapons (ASAT) since the beginning of the Soviet experiments in the 1980s and the US responded with a small missile carried by an F‑15 and, of course, the 2007 event in China. Dealing with states, I believe, is much easier than dealing with non‑state actors, because if each country has its own satellite you can deter and decide on a code of conduct and you can rely on experience with agreements on the nuclear issue. However, a non‑state actor is a very challenging thing to deter. You can mitigate after, you can retaliate, but to deter a non‑state actor is a major challenge and I do not know if it is at all possible.

I want to speak a little about the threat to the satellite itself. It could be a ‘hard’ kill, such as firing a missile or exploding another satellite, and then we will have another issue of space debris. It could be a ‘soft’ hit, such as jamming the communications or hacking the satellite. You can temporarily interfere with a satellite over your own territory, such as by using lasers to blind observation satellites, for example. By the way, this is an issue for the space lawyers, because it is not a permanent damage and in the field there is no national sovereignty, so it is an interesting issue by itself.

Space assets like satellites, as Patricia said, are very appealing to cyber attackers. I want to emphasise one point and this is a point related to the industry. The space industry, contrary to the thinking of the general public, is very conservative and the pace and the refreshment cycle of components inside satellites is very slow. For example, for years NASA used a very old CPU in satellites and they used eBay to buy old computers to get the chips. I am from Israel and we did it also; we used very old and proven components for years. In addition, the policy of when you are going to replace something inside a satellite is very conservative, because the engineers just want to see that the satellite is going to work and, if it is working, do not fix it; that is the philosophy. So, this is another issue and the way of dealing with that inherent vulnerability within the satellite itself, from the industry point of view, is awareness within the industry and sometimes regulations within the country that is building its own satellite.

I want to refresh our memory about several interesting incidents. Patricia spoke about cyber attacks that were attributed to a very large and populated country. Those were Landsat 7 and Terra, satellites run by NASA, but there was a very interesting incident back in 1998. ROSAT, which is a German exploration satellite, was irreversibly damaged and it was insinuated that it had some links to the hacking of the ground station at Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, United States. We also know about an incident from 2011 with a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) satellite. There was a computer virus in the network at the ground station and potential leakage of sensitive information from the Japanese space agency, I do not know to whom. In 2014, we had another incident with a satellite run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the United States, in which some critical data systems were shut down for two days, supposedly by some cyber attack.

If you are looking at the space segment of a space system, the satellite itself, the vulnerabilities are: slow technology or first cycle; a conservative update policy, as I said; line of sight to wide regions – this is very important because you can see the exact location of the satellite from different countries. This is especially true for communications satellites that are living in the geostationary orbit, so you do not only know exactly where the satellite is and it is there all the time, but you also know the frequencies for the satellite. In Israel, we suffered for a very short time a crude cyber attack, a denial of service from one of our communications satellites for a few minutes, which was attributed to the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza. It is very easy to just deny service from a civilian communication satellite and, to be frank, I am quite surprised that we do not see a lot of those attacks; maybe we will give some ideas to non‑state actors during this session.

Speaking about the ground segment, this is also the fault of the industry and the whole tradition of conducting the space issue. Exactly one month ago, I visited the Kennedy Space Center. I was a guest of the Center’s director and I asked to see some new things and some old things and I was amazed to see, within the new ground control centres of the Kennedy Space Center, some very heritage and old equipment that is very vulnerable. In the ground segment, you can see a lot of commercial, off‑the‑shelf components. It is very easy, relatively speaking, to access a ground station, especially for a commercial company, because it is open to the world through the internet. You can manipulate the people who are working in those establishments, you can do some social engineering and so on; so many things could happen to the ground segment as well as to the space part, the satellite itself.

Generally speaking, to a non‑state actor, to jam a satellite, to hack it, to manipulate it, is very attractive. It is relatively cheap and you achieve a lot of attention from the other side. It is my personal belief that there are some, I do not know how many, cyber incidents related to satellites that are not reported as cyber due to a concern that we do not want to give the other side knowledge about its success and for insurance, for example, this is another issue.

The first remedy, and not only from an industry point of view, is to increase awareness amongst the users of satellites and the industry to the large array of threats to the satellite. One way to mitigate this problem was conceived by the United States years ago and it was called ‘operational responsive space’, meaning that you have some satellites on alert and you can recover from an attack, either a direct ASAT attack on the satellite or – another issue – you can launch in a very short time from the incident. Another way of thinking about recovery is by quantity, a large constellation with formation firing. This is another issue, because many people look on very large constellations just as a field of space debris from the beginning and you have to manage it carefully and so on.

Those are some of the solutions. I will not give you all the solutions, because I want to come next year and speak about them.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

And you have to give some solutions when asked.

Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

No problem, yes.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you very much, Tal. Well, I think you have now a small view of how things are changing quickly and how we could respond, so, Raji, could you tell us more about confidence‑building measures?

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation

Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you all for coming. I am glad to be here as part of this panel on outer space‑related issues. The threats and challenges have been outlined to a great extent. There are the traditional challenges in the form of space debris, a potential arms race in space and radiofrequency interference, but you also have the newer forms of threat such as using cyber means to create disruptions in outer space activities. Clearly, the need for regulating activities in outer space has become much more evident and that is something that everybody agrees upon. All the major state space players agree that space has to be sustainable; space has to be kept secure and safe. However, while everybody agrees on this rhetoric, there is a bit of a gap between what these statements are all about and how states conduct their own activities in outer space. Therefore, we need to look at what are the possible measures to regulate activities in outer space, codify certain measures and outline what activities are considered responsible, acceptable behaviour in outer space and so on and so forth.

Of course, you have a big problem when it comes to getting all the major players to agree on some of the terms and conditions of regulating activity. That has been the state of play when it comes to an outer space regime, but it is the same in the case of other major international security issues. The lack of political consensus, the lack of consensus among the major powers has become the biggest impediment in creating new regimes or even modifying some of the existing regimes to suit the contemporary threats and challenges. Again, this is not going to be easy. It is the same situation whether you are talking about any major international security issue or even the nuclear security issues, nuclear non‑proliferation issues, but again that does not make the task easy either. Therefore, we need to look at all possible measures to develop certain codes of conduct, certain transparency and confidence‑building measures that would possibly become an interim measure to regulate this particular space, in a sense.

I would argue that we need to have more institutionalised multiple levels of dialogue at Track One, Track 1.5 and Track Two to develop these kinds of conversations among all the major established space players and to think about what are the pragmatic measures to regulate activities in the area of outer space. I would make a case for TCBMs, not because I think less of legal, more binding measures. I would say that legal measures or binding measures are an ideal solution, but there is a long way to go before we get to that point and, today, given the political climate that exists among the major players, it is not feasible.

When you look at the development of any regime, for instance, it goes through three major stages. One is the technical, then there is the legal aspect and the third is the political aspect. The technical is slightly more easy to reach. The legal, you can put a number of lawyers in a room and they can go back and forth, but even that is still a step that is doable. The most difficult challenge comes in the form of political challenges. Whilst we can all debate about the need for binding and non‑binding measures, it has not had much of success and, therefore, we need to look at practical, feasible measures for the short term in tackling some of the threats.

TCBMs are a good base for establishing a greater sense of confidence between different nations, which is critical for tackling the political consensus we are talking about. You have to have that and so starting some of the conversations and bringing together the different nations and all the stakeholders into the same room is a good beginning. TCBMs serve as a good starting point in that regard. It is a good point because there is recognition among different states of the challenges they face and, therefore, they recognise the need to have a binding measure, but before getting to that binding measure TCBMs become an intermediate measure to reach that point. It is more like a bridge between the idea of an effective instrument to fructifying a particular mode, in a sense.

TCBMs, such as the Group of Governmental Experts at the UN level, this is again a good measure. It promotes mutual trust, encourages cooperation and openness and is a potential way of reducing tension and misperceptions among states. This is precisely the point that we need to tackle the political challenges.

A code of conduct again has been a good initiative. That is something the Chair talked about. It was a good mantra in the last few years that an EU‑initiated code of conduct needed to be taken forward, but it has hit a roadblock and we are not going anywhere with it currently, given the lack of support from some of the critical players in this regard.

I want to talk about why we need to support TCBMs. As I said, it is essentially building norms of responsible behaviour and that has become more critical than ever. TCBMs can potentially lead to establishing some of the norms of responsible behaviour, leading later on, in a gradual manner, towards much more binding measures, whether it is treaties or other sorts of measures. However, even as we talk about some of the loose measures such as TCBMs, there has been criticism from a lot of different states, for instance, the G21 states, who talk about why we should support a globally loose set of norms that do not have any binding applicability on states and are easier to break. If you take the code of conduct, for instance, broadly speaking, at the global level it is a loose set of norms, but it does translate at the national level into countries developing more binding means to meeting some of the objectives of the code of conduct. Therefore, again, I would argue that it is a good intermediate measure between a functional need and a binding instrument. At this point, with the reluctance among states to sign legally binding measures, we need to start with TCBMs.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of TCBMs? These are voluntary commitments and so it is easier to reach some sort of an agreement among countries to support TCBMs. There are far fewer complications in terms of what a particular country is signing up to and agreeing to do. There are no extended technical verification decisions to be made of that kind. It becomes easier to sell in the domestic context, but because it is not a verifiable commitment that countries are making, what are the advantages for them? Why should countries sign up to something that is not verifiable? What is the efficacy of it? Does it really prevent states from conducting certain activities that are not necessarily responsible? There is no way to know if countries are undermining. Suppose a country agrees to a certain set of actions, how do you ensure that this commitment is not being broken and so on and so forth? There is no way of knowing that the countries are not breaking their commitments. The only way to prevent cheating by a country is because it could be a deterrent measure. That is, if you do it, other countries will also do it. If you take the example, for instance, in the Asian context, if China is going to break a certain commitment, there is a possible measure that India will follow through and so China has a possible incentive to not break the commitment in the first place. Essentially, it creates a certain amount of deterrence like that for countries not to break their commitments.

Second, it could also create international peer pressure not to break away from some of the commitments that you have made. Again, there are question marks about how countries look at international pariah status if they break a commitment. There are questions about it with certain countries, does it matter to them whether they break a commitment and they come to be called a pariah state. This is something that we need to look at.

The growing number of challenges means that we need to institute multiple levels of dialogue and, finally, to institute responsible behaviour, whether it is in the form of TCBMs and GGE. GGE, again, I agree that it is basically a set of recommendations coming from a smaller group of countries. There are only 15 countries that are party to it, but the fact is that each of those recommendations later on could be taken up as resolutions within the UN General Assembly and, therefore, they have a longer life, possibly materialising into something more concrete. Therefore, I would say that both the GGE and code of conduct need to be taken in the future as well.

Finally, we also need to look at Space Situational Awareness (SSA). This is a non‑controversial means of cooperation between states, but there has not been too much talk about. The USA has the largest SSA network, followed by Russia and Europe, but there are other countries that have smaller, limited capacities. Can we start some of these conversations involving SSA as an important aspect of cooperation? This is the way to go about it, but, first and foremost, the need to institute more TCBMs in the face of increasing political tension at the highest level among major powers has to be recognised by all the different space players and we need to go in that direction. Thank you.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you very much, Raji. I am happy to see that the efforts of the European Union, with the code of conduct and principles of responsible behaviour, are still appreciated. That is very encouraging. Your concept of deterrence is also a source of reflection. You seem to consider more deterrence by punishment than deterrence by denial, but I think everybody will agree with you on that. With the SSA, you know the European Union is developing, but, for the time being, just internally within the EU programme. Let us see if this could be expanded further; it would certainly be something very useful.

Now I turn to Laura. Laura, it is up to you now to conclude by telling us what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic.

Laura Grego, Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Thank you, Francois, and to the EU Non‑Proliferation Consortium for inviting me here to speak. It is my first time at this conference. In the spirit of providing material for our discussion, I am going to speak briefly about three separate but connected ideas and I hope we can continue this conversation in the question and answer period, but also thank you to my fellow panellists, they set me up very well.

The first thing I want to talk about is what is happening in my home country, the United States, because the United States government has had what some call the most significant shift in approach to space security in more than a decade and it has been happening fairly quietly. A hallmark of this new thinking is a change in the prevailing assumption about the nature of the space regime. The belief is that if space was ever considered a sanctuary, it no longer can be considered so, and that the US military must actively prepare to operate space assets in a contested environment and to deal decisively with anti‑satellite attacks. To that end, the Pentagon has begun to make organisational and policy changes and to expand the budget for national security space activities.

While the debate about what future might be in store for space has been going on for decades, I am sure many of us here have been involved in that for years, the turning point in US national security circles seems to have been around 2013, when China conducted a high altitude, sub‑orbital launch that the US characterised as an anti‑satellite test near geosynchronous orbit. That put a lot of people on notice. However, this is against a background of the general trend for years, which has been the advancement and proliferation of technology that can be used to target satellites, especially with the near‑peer space powers China and Russia being of the most concern.

Under this policy shift, the defence of satellites will rely heavily on a resilience approach, including redundancy, which is making sure that backups exist in orbit and on the ground and also to prepare non‑military, non‑governmental satellites to fill in when necessary. The approach includes buttressing national security satellites with more robust protections against jamming and dazzling and other types of attack. While in the past no project manager on a national security satellite would use a dollar for protection that she could use for capability that is not the case anymore. Another, not new idea, but new approach is disaggregation. An important aspect of that is separating strategic functions, such as nuclear command and control, from other functions of satellites.

The overall point here is to deter attacks on satellites by reducing the potential effects of an attack. Important to this strategy is communicating to potential adversaries that the US is doing this, so the good news, as it is expressed by the Pentagon official in charge of space policy, is that, ‘It is our belief that we will deter attacks on space in the first place and, by extension, deter aggression overall’. So far, this approach does not explicitly publicly include using defensive weapons or using offensive weapons to deter attacks, but these options are not off the table, neither is using weapons to target a potential adversary’s satellite assets. The money in the classified space budget is increasing and the Pentagon has been mandated to look at these technologies and, of course, we know that the US has a significant existing ASAT capability in the form of mid‑course missile defences.

From an outside observer’s perspective – I am a non‑governmental person – whether the US will pursue offensive strategies and to what extent is still an open question. The Pentagon is reportedly reviewing its policy on offensive space tactics and changes are being made organisationally to support war‑fighting posture and those things we can see from the outside. However, what I would say is that the emphasis on technological solutions to achieving space security without commensurate energy in diplomatic solutions is not new, but it is disappointing. While pursuing agreed constraints and confidence‑building and transparency measures was formerly part of the toolbox for space security laid out early in the Obama administration, there has been a distinct lack of vigour in pursuing diplomatic solutions. The US has participated in efforts to build TCBMs and a code of conduct, but has not really taken a leadership role and I see this as a lost opportunity. I do not personally believe that a sustainable future in space or on the earth is possible without thoughtfully constructed limits on technology and behaviour in space and I am quite sure that we have not exhausted these options yet.

I am going to move on to my second point and Raji set me up for this. She described how you move from the technical to the legal, so I will briefly talk about the technical. One reason, of course, for concern is the debris‑creating aspect of ASAT weapons, which is a serious issue, but of special concern is that unconstrained weaponisation provides pathways for crises to escalate in unpredictable ways. This is a repeated conclusion from wargames that include space and recently the Deputy Commander for Space in the US Strategic Command said, ‘What I am most concerned about is miscalculation in this area, because miscalculation leads very fast to unintended consequences and that is the part that worries me the most’. I agree with this assessment wholeheartedly. Technologies that are useful for holding satellites at risk have grown significantly in sophistication and capacity even in the last decade and are more widely available. At the same time, the United States and Russia continue to retain large nuclear arsenals on high alert, with the capability to launch nuclear armed ballistic missiles around the world with a few minutes’ notice, and China is reportedly considering increasing the size, capacity and alert status of its own nuclear weapons delivery systems.

For the foreseeable future, military tensions between the US, China and Russia are likely to remain high, so we need to be paying attention to investments in strategies that could lead one or the other side to consider crossing the nuclear threshold or approach it very closely. I believe that attacks on satellites can create or escalate terrestrial crises in potentially difficult to predict ways, which is particularly dangerous among nuclear powers.

The problem I am looking at, summarised, is we drift towards a space regime that places more prevalent and more sophisticated ASAT technology with very little mutual understanding about how actions in space are perceived and which of these can spark or exacerbate a crisis on the ground. The current regime of laws and arms agreements governing space, as currently understood, is not sufficient to ensure that space and satellites do not increase the risk of nuclear use or do so only at the minimum possible. I see this problem as much more urgent than one might infer from the amount of political capital expended on it.

The UN GGE that Raji mentioned suggests that TCBMs are useful in ‘reducing misperceptions and miscalculations and thereby help both to prevent military confrontation and to foster regional and global stability’. There is a broad number of these, so I thought I would just give you my own current best idea. If we look at the problem through the lens of avoiding crisis escalation, does this provide a useful insight into which are the best things to start on? Should we look at which technologies are the most dangerous with the greatest potential to create or exacerbate a crisis? Do they promote a use it before you lose it dynamic? Are they dramatic? Are they irreversible? Are they difficult to attribute? Are they difficult to interpret intent or to know what an appropriate response is? Are there narrowly focused agreements that could be useful, achievable, verifiable and of benefit? My answer, of course, is yes, there are.

One idea is to look at the technology of proximity operation satellites, the ability for a satellite to closely approach an adversary’s satellite without its cooperation. That is an enabling technology for ASAT attacks. Of course, once you can get close to a satellite you can do all sorts of things, like set it spinning, spray it with shrapnel, spray it with spray paint, lots of kinds of things that can interfere with a satellite. At the same time, the technology of closely approaching a satellite that is unable or unwilling to cooperate with that close approach is a technology that has numerous benign or beneficial uses. For example, to refuel a satellite in orbit or repair it, to begin to build large‑scale space structures or to de‑orbit large pieces of debris. So far, the US, China, Russia and, I believe, Sweden have demonstrated these technologies and I know it is of interest to many more countries.

Arms control analysts have looked, in the past, at the idea of keep out zones to shield satellites. This is nothing new. A keep out zone would provide a satellite with a set volume of space into which no other satellites may go without permission. In the past, they tended to be regarded as being maybe modestly helpful, but perhaps unworthy of significant amounts of high‑level time to negotiate. One reason for that is the common argument that keep out zones only provide limited protection. You can imagine the hostile satellite could loiter just outside the keep out zone and dive in at the last minute, or it could build an interference mechanism that worked at a distance that keep out zones would never be big enough. However, another way to look at it would be to see a keep out zone as providing not protection but accountability and transparency. While an actor might have a legitimate reason to occasionally come near a keep out zone, it would have no reason to loiter at its periphery. The restraint or absence of restraint could signal deliberately the intentions of the potential adversary. With a keep out zone it would also be clear which satellite had a right of way in a close approach. These arrangements could set clearly expected behaviour to illuminate intentions and to create official lines of communication between potential adversaries, just such benefits that Raji suggested TCBMs have. From this lens, therefore, perhaps keep out zones have more to offer than we thought.

The technical points of view I will leave for questions and hope somebody asks me that, because I am running out of time.

The third point I want to talk about is legal mechanisms. As a segue, I will mention that one of the focuses in recent years of course has been to develop an international code of conduct for outer space activities. A roadblock to progress on that effort came in disagreement over the inclusion of language around the use of force in self‑defence. While this clearly was not the only problem, it does point to a significant issue that needs to be addressed. As space activities increase in number and type and more actors use space for national security activities, the international community has to work to clarify exactly what is restricted, what is permitted and what is tolerated under existing law and custom before waiting for an event that would force the law to be tested under difficult or contentious circumstances.

To that end, I would like to introduce the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) Project, for which I am the technical director. This project was conceived and is led by McGill University’s Centre for Research in Air and Space Law and the University of Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics. Over the next three years, the plan is to produce a manual that articulates and clarifies existing international law applicable to military uses of outer space, military activities and periods of tension, known as jus ad bellum and after there is a situation of armed conflict (jus in bello). This project is in the tradition of the Tallinn Manual on cyberspace, which many of you probably are familiar with, the Harvard Manual on Air and Missile Warfare and the San Remo Manual on armed conflict at sea. It will involve a consideration of not just the existing international rules of outer space but will involve integration with international humanitarian law and the rules prohibiting the law of force. The working group includes experts in law, diplomats, military personnel and technical experts all working in a personal capacity.

While many of us who engage in space security issues have been known to describe space as practically lawless or the Wild West, and I am guilty of that, in truth, the body of law of armed conflict and humanitarian law is a major source of restraint regarding military operations on earth and these, as well as space law, also constrain military operations in space. The development of international regulations, which clarify how these principles should apply to space, can create an even ground of agreed standards, which can aid in predictability. Rather than legitimising the use of force in space, regulating potential space warfare limits, by definition, exactly when force may be used in self‑defence and how. Importantly, it does not limit actors from continuing to pursue more specific or comprehensive limits on behaviour and technology through negotiated agreement, but it provides predictability and accountability while that process continues and can make us safer in the interim.

If we want to be able to minimise the risk of escalation during times of tension due to space activities and if we want to be able to mitigate the effects of a potential conflict taking place in space and if we want to bring it to a close sooner, we do need to have clear rules in space on the use of force and the use of armed conflict, just as we do for conflict on land, sea and air. Thank you.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you very much, dear Laura. After these four contributions, which were very enlightening, the floor now is yours. When you ask a question, please identify yourself and give the name of the organisation that sponsors you, which will help us better understand your own concerns.

Emil Dall, Research Analyst, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

Thank you for a really interesting panel. I must admit that I am not very familiar with the subject already, so this may be a non‑question and, if so, just dismiss it. I also operate mostly in the nuclear orbit, so excuse the comparisons to nuclear in this question. Laura, you talked a little about miscalculation and the risk of miscalculation in creating crises and escalating. I was wondering how much of a problem attribution is when it comes to this. In the nuclear world, we have a defined set of actors and it is very easy to attribute an attack from someone. To what extent is that possible in space? With an increase of actors does attribution become more difficult and how should we regulate that? This is a bit of an unfair question, maybe, but in nuclear we have haves and have nots; should we have that in space as well, where some people can have certain capabilities and others cannot, to limit the problems of attribution?

Carlo Trezza, Outgoing Chairman, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

The panorama that has been presented is rather discouraging and, in comparison to the past, our predecessors have been more successful. If you think that the space era started in 1957 and ten years later there was already a legally‑binding treaty, discipline, to a certain extent, but in a comprehensive way the whole issue. In the following years, we have been lagging behind quite dramatically. My observation is ‘Thank God there is the debris’, because it is the biggest deterrent to the weaponisation of outer space. I hope we shall be able to do better in the future. Any initiative is positive and this was the rationale behind the not very ambitious proposal of the European Union, of which I personally am a little bit responsible, but in any case, even that did not fly, for many reasons. Now there are other ideas around, but again we have to really get our act together and do something more than what we have done so far. Thank you.

Tariq Rauf, Director, Disarmament, Arms Control and Non‑Proliferation Programme, SIPRI

Thank you, Francois and thank you to the panel. From a policy perspective, I would like the panel, if they could, to draw out the distinctions a little bit more between the so‑called civilian and the military uses of space. On the civilian side, one can talk about commercial uses – Patricia referred to banking, to make sure that my store has champagne in stock and so on, information broadcast channels, sensing for floods and crops. Those are all benign activities for which there should not be too much controversy. The problem arises in the military use of space, which is verification, reconnaissance, more problematically battle management, flying drones to launch weapons to their targets, offensive platforms and so on. That is where we have some of the major problems in coming up with a global regime.

A question to Tal, from an industry perspective. In other industries, in the automotive and aircraft industries the major players collaborate with each other at a certain level even though they are competitors, in aspects of safety and so on – seatbelts, airbags, etc. Are there areas in which there can be collaboration in industry in setting up common standards to reduce the vulnerability to the type of threats that Patricia outlined in her presentation? That is separate from the military side.

On the military side, there have been various approaches on non‑weaponisation of space and still we have no solution to that, but at least if we could make progress on the so‑called civilian side that could be a confidence‑building measure.

Finally, a number of panellists referred to TCBMs, which I know are transparency and confidence‑building measures, but very few examples were given and perhaps if you could outline some of the examples that are under discussion it would be useful. Thank you.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

I shall ask the panel to answer the three questions. On the question of attribution, if I may just try myself for one second. There is a big difference between kinetic and physical attacks, which are relatively easy to attribute, and cyber, which are extraordinarily difficult to attribute.

Less efficient than our predecessor: when the treaty was made there was not so much at stake and it is always easy to establish norms when the stakes are relatively small; today, they are enormous.

The distinction between civilian and military uses and banning activities: personally, in the EEAS, we tend to consider that there is no clear separation between civilian and military and that satellites are probably one of the most critical infrastructures, as Patricia said. When I took up my post at Space Envoy, some friends in the US administration told me, ‘Do you know that you will be responsible for some residual security aspects, that is, political aspects of security of Galileo? Do you know what the next James Bond scenario is?’ ‘No.’ ‘An attack on GPS.’  So, just be aware that possibly 10% of gross national product, according to a space strategy, depends only on the reliable functioning of GPS in Europe and this will probably be multiplied by three in 15 years. This shows us that it is extremely difficult, in this field, to separate what is civilian and military. GPS started as a military programme and today it is a civilian programme; Galileo started as a civilian programme and will end, possibly, as a military programme, so it is very difficult to make the distinction.

Let me turn now to the others, starting with Patricia.

Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Thank you and thanks for the great questions. I will not answer them all, but haves versus have nots has already happened, gone. Everyone is using space. Not everyone owns satellites, but soon you could. You could buy one this size, put it in a launch with a whole load of others. We have mentioned constellations, we have mentioned swarms; that does provide some resilience, but it also provides vulnerabilities as well in the connectedness, so it is a double‑edged sword that way.

To add to what Francois was just saying, to me, this underscores the importance of Galileo and the resilience that Galileo provides in the global positioning system. We have, of course, the Russian, the Indian and the Chinese, but they do not provide the same global reach, so it will be critical to make sure that we all have multiple receiver technology in our positioning technology.

Just to mention the Outer Space Treaty, next year is the 50th anniversary and this is an opportunity to raise the question you asked, Carlo, what are we doing? Why are we not paying enough attention to this when we are so dependent upon it? It is very odd.

People have mentioned the civil and military interface. We did not talk much about the military vulnerabilities to the command and control systems, for example, which is a major vulnerability. I hope that the militaries have it down in terms of cyber vulnerabilities in the command and control sector, but I suspect I am hoping forlornly. I will just leave that one out there for you to have nightmares about.

I would just say that in the sphere of the internet, I have been working a lot recently on the whole thing that is called ‘internet governance’. I was part of the Global Commission on Internet Governance chaired by Carl Bildt, which reported in July and it is called One Internet. I do recommend it to you. One of the things that became clear to me is how well a multi‑stakeholder process can work, where you do bring in civil society experts, government experts, international organisations’ experts and industrial experts. They fight tooth and nail, but they fight and they end up with a decision, unlike just turning up, reading statements and going away again each week, which is what is happening in the international system. This is a very difficult process to manage and it is bruising and everyone comes out of a multi‑stakeholder governance meeting exhausted, but they get results and we need this for space, because space is just like the internet in many respects. In some ways, it forms a major part of the internet and will continue to do so. I really recommend this approach to you. Let us get rid of the old‑fashioned thinking of government‑to‑government and move into multi‑stakeholder processes.

Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

I want to comment once again about the definition of civilian use of space and military use of space, which is, for me, also an obsolete way of thinking about it, because even military vehicles like UAVs are now controlled by transponders from a civilian communications satellite.

As per the question about cooperation and collaboration between industries and countries, when satellites are being attacked or hacked or jammed it is bad for all the countries that operate satellites. I am not aware, as of today, of any effort that is coordinated with a consortium of industries, but it will come eventually. You also have to remember that standardisation, of which we are all aware in the regime of objects in computers and cell phones, is not yet there in space except for the very small satellite and the CubeSat standard, which is a standard way of building satellites. In the end, I believe that necessity will dictate cooperation and collaboration between most countries. Even though it is very hard to see a Chinese industry cooperating with an American industry because of the American set of rules and regulations regarding China and other countries, I believe that we will see it, because when a satellite goes down it is bad for all of us. Indeed, we just suffered a major setback because our very new, 5.5 tonnes, satellite exploded on the launch pad, not because of us, but because of SpaceX. It is bad for SpaceX, it is bad for Israel, it is bad for the whole community of operators, because the insurance will go up.

Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Can I add that insurance, though, could provide us with more security if they drove standards?

Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

Yes, I believe so, because we know that there are some policies for cyber insurance for various infrastructures on the ground. In space, I believe maybe the insurance industry will show the way.

Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

They will. I think they are working on this now.

Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

Because they do not like to pay.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Raji, maybe you could give some examples of TCBMs?

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation

Yes, absolutely. It was far easier to reach agreements, treaties, regimes in earlier times, in the 1960s and 1970s, because there were two or three major players in this domain and they had an inherent interest in controlling the technology and its use. However, today, given the proliferation of space technology across more than 60 players, including the private sector, educational institutions and so on, finding agreement among those 60, 70, 80 players is going to be extremely challenging. That has made the entire process of developing norms, regimes, any of these things much more of a challenging job. There is also the bigger problem now of the shifting balance of power equations. There is a relative decline in the US and that is again reflected in the manner in which we are able to develop principles of responsible behaviour, norms or treaties or any of these kinds of things, whether it is in the nuclear space, cyber or any of these domains. The US is not able to wield the same amount of influence it did a few decades ago. All of these things have an influence on how, today, the space regimes are being developed.

Next, it is very difficult to make a clear distinction between civilian and military activities in outer space. Today, a particular country might want to get into the civil space domain, so they enter into a regional cooperation agreement or, at a multilateral level, there might be international cooperation parameters set, but how and when do you realise that countries are not diverting their civil space capabilities into developing more serious military space programmes? Second, how do you know that countries are not developing a ballistic missile programme because, at the end of the day, it is the same technology we are talking about? It is nice to talk about making the distinction, but in real terms it does not make a huge difference in civilian and military space capabilities.

On the TCBMs, one example is the pre‑launch notification. That has been a much stated TCBM that we have talked about. Notification of high‑risk re‑entry events is another important aspect. Space Situational Awareness is another important set of measures. Planetary defence is becoming no more a fictional thing that we are talking about. If you look at the near meteor hit in Russia a couple of years ago, it shows the new challenges in the planetary defence domain, again developing some of the capabilities and exchange of information between states. Another important aspect of the TCBMs is inviting each other to space facilities. For instance, the last three ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meetings have happened on space. The first one was in Vietnam, the second in Japan and the third in China. In each of these meetings, the last day’s session was devoted to getting a sense of what was going on and then going to the space centre. It is not good enough, but it is a good starting point to develop a certain amount of confidence among the different players.

Laura Grego, Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

I spoke for a long time when it was my turn, so I will keep this brief. You bring up a very good question about attribution. Since space is a harsh environment, satellites fail all the time for reasons that are often totally benign and sometimes it is just difficult to discern. It is a concern if a satellite just fails, but we are in a regime where there is a lot of ASAT capability and you would want to know quickly what happened and who did it or who did not do it. If it is a direct ASAT attack, you can certainly see that happening, but short of that, there are lots of ways to interfere with a satellite that might not be quite as visible. Attribution under a compressed timescale is a hallmark of space and that is one of the things that feeds into the miscalculation and instability issue. That is one reason why I would suggest having a keep out zone, so that somebody cannot blame you for the failure of their satellite if you are respecting the laws that everyone has set out.

On the question about haves and have nots, of course the barn door is open there, but something we did not mention quite to the level of importance we should have is that space is no longer a state‑dominated endeavour. One of the things we do in my organisation is keep track of who has actively orbiting satellites and what kind of things they do. We have been doing that for a decade. Every satellite needs to be registered to a state and the registration country is ultimately responsible for that, but more satellites than not are owned by international corporations or companies and things which are not state entities. How that increasing character of space as a commercial marketplace interacts with the other things we have been talking about is a very interesting question and it will become more complex as satellite launch becomes cheaper, which is the direction it is going in. Indeed, it possibly might become very much cheaper and the gap between the haves and have nots will shrink quite a bit.

The third question was about ‘thank God for debris’. Obviously, I do not agree with that, but I do agree with the idea that we are not paying sufficient attention right now.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you. I will now take all the remaining questions, because there will only be time for one set of answers.

Hellmut Lagos, Alternate Representative of Chile to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva; Head of Delegation in the OEWG on Nuclear Disarmament

I am also originally a nuclear guy, but I sometimes have a space suit as well; I am currently the Chair of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPOUS) Legal Subcommittee and I was one of the 15 members of the GGE. I would like to thank all the panellists for very informative and excellent presentations, particularly Dr Rajagopalan for her informative and balanced portrayal of the GGE work. In this regard, I would like to mention that in the report there is a section of recommendations and conclusions, but there is only one conclusion and that is that these voluntary measures can constitute the basis for proposals of legally binding instruments. That was a compromise formula, because some of the members insisted that there should be a big emphasis on legally binding proposals. That is the first thing.

My question is: considering that the successful adoption of the GGE report was facilitated by the very positive collaboration between the two major powers of that time, would you say that the failure to make progress in the adoption of an agreement in the proposal of the international code of conduct is also something that can be attributed to the current status of the geopolitical environment? This is not only for Dr Rajagopalan but for any panellists who wish to answer, but I would like to know if there is any update on the current status. I understand that this proposal has turned into one of responsible principles of behaviour, but I must confess that I am a bit puzzled on the status, because I have asked different participants and the answers are not very clear so far. It would be interesting to have a more precise state of the art of this proposal. Thank you very much.

Hervé Touron, Operations Manager, European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC)

Thank you to the panellists for this excellent presentation. In past years, we have seen and my perception is that there are more and more services provided from space. We are, every day, the actors of space‑based service and it is becoming cheaper and cheaper. Twenty or 30 years ago, only large actors could send large satellites. Nowadays, it is a shoe box, we have a programme of hundreds of earth observation satellites that will come to space very soon, built with very cheap technology, nothing of military technology, that is why the separation between military and commercial becomes and less and less valid. We use commercial technology to send satellites and the value will be the services. That is one point.

The second is the interconnection on a daily basis of more and more objects. Nowadays, who does not use Bluetooth, wi‑fi and so on and you have critical infrastructures that are also using this and you will be able to access, in some sense, to infrastructures that are connected to space‑based assets. All this, because of the increase of services, will have a financial impact on the daily running of every nation. My question is very simple: how do we measure this financial impact, if we can today, because there is a gap between the speed it goes, and it runs now and develops, and the actions to be taken. Thank you.

Sebastian Brixey‑Williams, Project Leader, British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

Thank you very much. I certainly know a lot more about space than I did before. I have a couple of things I want to add. First, I would love to speak to you more, Dr Pillai Rajagopalan, about TBMs, because in part of my work I work on emerging undersea technologies and one of the issues we come up against frequently is that since these are essentially invisible to the general populous, policymakers, politicians and so forth they do not care a lot. I imagine this is exactly the same problem that you come up against frequently with space and so my question is simple. I would like to invite comment on what sort of strategies have you found to be useful and what kind of strategies should we be employing to try to raise the profile of what is essentially an invisible problem. Thank you.

Group Captain (Retd) Ajey Lele, Senior Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA)

This is more than a question of curiosity about cyber issues. We all know that Stuxnet has delivered. The good part is that it has delivered, the bad part is that we came to know about it, because it should have been a secret. Along similar lines, we all know that North Korea is not giving up smoking, so why are people allowing North Korea to keep on bursting crackers and keep on sending satellites also? Is there not a way out? You have spoken only about the bad aspect of cyber from a satellite point of view; can states, particularly with the backdrop of Stuxnet, use the good aspects of cyber to allow the so‑called rogue nations from achieving what they want to do?

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you. I shall only try to answer the first question, leaving the four panellists to answer the others. The first question was basically about where we stand on what we call PORBOS (principles of responsible behaviour for outer space). You know that in the EU we have proposed the code of conduct, which remains on the table and we, in the EU, shall continue to make the case for it knowing that there is no political likely prospect of that being soon adopted. However, we see the examples of a number of important space powers continuing to make the case steadily and firmly for their concepts, even if they are not immediately accepted, so we should continue. However, as a space user, we need to have as much protection as possible, so we try to propose the idea of extracting from the code the most uncontroversial principles, to try to have them sold wherever we can – I could say COPIOS, GGE, wherever we can. We have done that in the EU together with the specific support of some member states. There are some member states that have decided to help us with promotion, because space is such a complicated issue, there are so many actors – as Space Envoy, I realise that every day – that we need to mobilise all the contacts in the European Union to get that promoted.

Now we are in the process of reflecting about the next steps. We are trying to analyse where and how we could push these ideas, which are in our interest, in the best possible way, so I am not surprised that you still feel that you are not exactly in very well marked ground, because there are two points that are of interest and importance for us. One is that we are not the only space user, so an important element of our work is to diminish the European footprint on that. We are as interested as every other space player, so it is not an EU proposal, it is a proposal from everybody to everybody. We do not want to put a European flag necessarily very visible on that, be it by just the consensus of who we are, be it also because the geopolitical context, as you have suggested, is not necessarily as encouraging as some years ago for the EU to be at the forefront of a fight. The EU is in the fight with the others, not necessarily the first one. That is why we are a bit more discreet than we were, but we are still there and we try, particularly in COPIOS or anywhere else to push for all principles that can increase safe access, safe and secure use of space, because it is possibly in our interest. In particular, because we are the most open group of countries in the world to trade and have cultural exchanges and this obviously makes us particularly reliant on space. This is not only a very important card in our hand, but it is also a very important vulnerability and we must reduce it. That is why we will continue to argue firmly in favour of all these principles.

I will pass the floor to all of you, asking you to be limited to two minutes, otherwise we will be too late. Please also use this opportunity to answer to recap and conclude.

Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Very quickly, in terms of measuring the financial impact, we have been trying to do this for the internet and it proves to be so hard. The usual thing is what we can measure is not important, what is important cannot be measured and so you can measure stuff, but it does not necessarily tell you anything. If we could start to measure from here, before this enormous explosion, and try to measure something that is meaningful as opposed to just numbers, if you see what I mean. Perhaps we can have another conversation about that, but it strikes me that if we think about, now, what is important to measure and start to measure it from here on in that could be useful, because it is about to explode, you are quite right.

In terms of raising profile, in space, I would say, ‘Look, it is so beautiful. Look, it is gorgeous’. We use this imagery to raise the profile of it and people love space. People love the idea of Hellmut being in a space suit, for example, or the idea of stars and just being up there, the silence of space. If you can communicate that romanticism, you can capture the imagination of people.

Finally, as I understand it, the North Korea thing was about people who behave badly. Part of the problem with cyber security anyway, with some of this old technology that was put up there before even knew the term ‘cyber security’ we left the windows open, we left the front door and the back door open, we left the keys in the lock and there is a big notice saying, ‘Welcome, come on in’. Anyone can go in there; it does not have to be North Korea. If you were an insurance company, would you be saying to me, who had left all those windows and doors open, ‘Why should I insure you? You have just let the thieves in’. A bit like that, it is all right blaming North Korea or whoever is doing it, which is true, but there are things we can do, just good practice stuff, to make ourselves more secure and safe. The question I have is why are we not doing that?

Laura Grego, Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Great questions. I am only going to answer the ones I have something to say about. Having worked on space security for a number of years, how do you raise the profile? That is, of course, difficult. Patricia had a good point. To get the US military really to focus on it, I am sorry to say, but it took anti‑satellite tests by other countries. For a long time, we thought, naturally, that commercial satellite companies would be interested in this, because they make a lot of money. As it turned out, for a long time most of that money was at geosynchronous orbits, which is fairly insulated from the battlefield that is close to earth, so they felt that their interests were elsewhere. Certainly, the character of that is changing and there is money to be made at earth.

I agree that space is romantic and beautiful and now we are putting an increasing number of people, tourists and commercial things. People love SpaceX and Elon Musk and it is a way to engage in this, but I am a great believer in space providing this amazing tool for developing of human beings. The plans for building broadband access to remote areas where it would be difficult to get it otherwise is a great tool. I hate to use the term, but it is not a first world issue; it is about the whole world. Through that lens, as a tool it is very interesting and helpful.

I also think we do need to be ready for the moment when people are going to be investing in and harvesting space resources on asteroids and the moon. It sounds so far‑fetched and so science fiction‑y, but people are thinking about that and as launch gets less expensive that is going to be more attractive and things will start happening in a hurry once that happens. We should be prepared for that and think through all of these things well in advance. I keep saying the same thing over and over because I believe it so strongly. I will leave it there.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you, Laura. We share your belief.

Tal Inbar, Head of Space and UAV Studies, Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

Just a short comment about the vulnerability of space assets through the ground segment. Be it an autonomous car or the stereo in your car, it has already been demonstrated that you can hack a car through the entertainment system and you can do the same with the uplink connection between stuff on earth to the satellite.

Coming back to what the ambassador said earlier, that the space scene is being militarised more and more. The challenges are there. I believe it is naïve to think that space will be an isolated environment in which eternal peace will reign. Just like the ground and then the sea and then the air, we saw those as places of war and I believe that space is so attractive to the bad guys that we will have to cope with this reality and understand that. In some cases, we can have agreements and build confidence between countries, we can deter other countries from doing bad things to satellites, but this is the reality. The more we use resources from space and bring them to earth the challenge will be much greater. I believe that we can cope with it, but there is no simple clean‑cut solution.

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation

Thank you for all the questions and comments. The one about raising the profile, somebody talked about in the US context that one of the members of the scientific community went to talk to a politician and said, ‘We need a weather satellite’ and the politician just turned around and said, ‘We have a space channel on TV, why do we need a weather satellite?’ That is the level of awareness among a large number of countries. This may be talked about in the US context, but I can see that playing out in many different contexts, whether it is Asia, Africa, Latin America, all of those different areas.

Clearly, though, awareness about space utilisation has increased and many countries in Latin America and Africa are just beginning to appreciate the utility of space for a variety of applications. Therefore, you are going to see a number of countries entering this domain in a big way and the number of players is going to rise. This comes back to the point of the need to regulate and have countries contribute in a responsible manner, play out responsibly and so on. What kind of strategies would work here? Obviously, there are civilian and military applications of space, but you cannot control the spread of technology completely, which means you need to look at Chemical Weapons Convention‑like measures, not a non‑proliferation and disarmament (NPD) like mechanism. NPD‑like mechanisms are not going to be useful in the outer space domain, but a chemical weapons‑like convention where you are looking at regulating the end use activities rather than the control of technology itself needs to be looked at. These are important things and, in the meantime, when you are still framing legally binding measures, you need to start with what is practically feasible, more politically acceptable now, but that have some sort of binding say within national territories.

This is important for two reasons. One is to codify certain principles that constitute responsible behaviour, but it is also more important to look at it from a definitional aspect. The definitional perspective is very important. There is no clarity today on what constitutes the peaceful use of outer space. How do you define an astronaut? Tomorrow, you are going to have somebody travelling with Virgin Galactic as a space tourist, would he or she be considered an astronaut? The definitional aspect is another important thing that we need to focus on. We need to look at not controlling the technology per se, but regulating the activities and thus contributing to the responsible activities in outer space, but we need to start working on all the different sets of measures to have a greater sense of confidence in each other. Breaking that deadlock and the lack of consensus, which is a major political issue today, is what we need to tackle first and foremost. Thank you.

Francois Rivasseau, Special Envoy for Space and Acting Director, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, EEAS

Thank you, Raji. Sometimes I think that the Chemical Weapons Convention is a good precedent, but for some aspects it has also to look at the VW[?] precedent.

I conclude now with a prediction. Sometimes you can make predictions and I am going to do so, which is that in the next year we shall still have a lot of things to discuss on the non‑proliferation concerns about space and I also predict that maybe in less than five years we will have more than one panel on this issue. Let us see if this prediction comes true. Thank you very much.

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IISS

Brussels, 3-4 November 2016

EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016