“How to Balance Security, Sustainability and Profit in International Space Policy” featured the work of Mariel Borowitz, assistant professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, in a special Q&A. Global Atlanta, December 28, 2018.
Global Atlanta: What are the most pressing challenges in international space policy for the U.S. right now, and what precipitated the Trump administration’s decision to launch a Space Force branch of the armed services by 2020? Is such a force needed, and if so, how should this force integrate with the rest of the military?
Dr. Mariel Borowitz: In the national security arena, one of the most pressing international space policy challenges is ensuring the sustainable use of outer space. The United States relies on space assets for civil and military communications, weather forecasts, military surveillance and reconnaissance, navigation and even international banking (which uses the timing signal of the GPS system).
There are currently more than 1,800 active satellites in orbit and more than 20,000 pieces of debris large enough to destroy a satellite in a collision. Furthermore, the United States, China, and Russia all have the capability to purposefully damage or destroy satellites in orbit. With such a large reliance on space, the U.S. has a large interest in ensuring that its assets are not subject to intentional or unintentional damage.