The independent resource on global security

Space Weapons: The Arms Control Dilemma

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN 0-85066-262-1
255 pp.

Billions of dollars are to be devoted to research on ways to render nuclear weapons 'impotent and obsolete'. Popular candidates for the task are a space-based laser or one based on land using space mirrors.

The obvious question is, of course, will they work adequately? But there are other important issues. What is the link between nuclear war-fighting doctrines and these and other advances in space technology? Renewed interest in defensive systems could give a boost to the development of weapons for destroying satellites in orbit. Would an enthusiastic programme in defensive space weaponry merely buy an offensive capability at the expense of existing treaties? Does the dream of perfect defence make the gamble worthwhile?

These and other problems are all part of the arms control dilemma taken up by a panel of international experts at a SIPRI symposium in September 1983. Their papers, which are published in this book, tackle mainly the problems posed by developments in ballistic missile defence (BMD) and anti-satellite (ASAT) systems. They discuss the risk of nuclear conflict in an era of unrestrained arms competition in outer space; the implications of ASAT and BMD developments for both past and future attempts at arms limitation; and possible new legal controls.



Part I. The arms control dilemma—an overview

Bhupendra Jasani

1. Introduction

2. Targets in space

3. Anti-satellite weapons

4. Space-based defensive weapons

5. The arms control dilemma

6. Recommendations


Part II. Militarization of space and arms control

1. Military satellites and war-fighting doctrines

Thomas Karas

2. Strategic doctrines, the militarization and the 'semi-demilitarization' of space

Deborah Shapley

3. Advantages and disadvantages of an eventual ban on deployment of military satellites

Carlo Trezza

4. Why anti-satellite warfare should be prohibited

Jozef Scheffers

5. Satellite and missile ASAT systems and potential verification problems associated with the existing Soviet systems

Marcia Smith

6. Space-based directed energy beam weapons

Paul Nahin

7. Implications of anti-satellite weapons for ABM issues

Donald Kerr

8. New means of ballistic missile defence: The question of legality and arms control implications

Jozef Goldblat

9. An ASAT test ban treaty

Kurt Gottfried

10. Approaches to an ASAT treaty

Walter Slocombe

11. Approaches to prevent an arms race in outer space

Sune Danielsson

12. Arms control in space: The need for new legal action

Peter Jankowitsch

13. Averting a new round in the militarization of outer space: An urgent problem and goal

Evgeniy Velikhov, Andrei Kokoshin and Alexei Vassiliev

14. Verification possibilities should an ASAT treaty materialize

Michel Guionnet


Appendix 1. Satellite launches in 1982 and 1983

Appendix 2. Treaties and treaty proposals that contain provisions aimed at some form of arms control in space