Scott F. March


An interdisciplinary framework in which international law is but one element is presented in this article in the hope of lending organization to the complex subject of space weaponization. Seven factors are discussed which strongly influence decision-makers in both the United States and the Soviet Union who are charged with establishing and implementing the military space policies of their respective nations. They are (1) the relationship between the militarization of earth and the militarization of space; (2) the effects of weapon technology and national defense policy upon the use of space; (3) the interrelationship of the international law-making process with national space objectives; (4) the influence of the press and public opinion upon the military space debate; (5) problems inherent with outer space arms control treaties and provisions; (6) the danger of relying upon false analogies in debating issues of spaceborne weaponry; and (7) the tendency to treat arms control and disarmament as the only available means to bring about peace.

This proposed framework then will be applied to help identify and analyze important elements of the debate surrounding the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program. SDI presently is the most debated issue in the field of military space operations. The application of an interdisciplinary approach which considers international law, technology, national defense policy and strategy, and the role of public opinion offers a practical and organized manner in which to debate the value and effects of on-going research efforts concerning a spaceborne ballistic missile defense system.