Friday, October 19 • 1:25pm - 1:45pm
The Space-based Kill Assessment Program: Space-based Missile Defense, Militarized Outer Space and its Terrestrial Implications

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* The sneak peek of the animated presentation can be viewed here (Its full copy available upon request).

In 2014, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), a section of the US Department of Defense (DoD), ambitiously launched its Space-based Kill Assessment (SKA) project in an effort to reinforce the American missile defense capabilities, such as the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), by 2020. The SKA sensors – an important component of the system to create a more robust communications network for more strategic interception of incoming threats – are expected to be on orbit in 2018, tested and fielded in the consecutive years. It is also noteworthy that these sensors will be piggy-backed on commercial satellites mainly for the cost savings benefits. This reportedly first partnership of the MDA with commercial stakeholders for its space applications evokes the on-going debate over the dual-use objects as a potential aid to space weapons, in addition to the implications of the ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ (MIC) associated with the US military.

While some governments, such as that of the US, insist on the self-defense and security purposes in its march towards outer space for military interests, like the justification of experimenting the US’ SKA sensor network, such military-oriented space policies have critically been assessed because they would eventually result in compromising the peaceful uses of outer space, as stipulated in the Outer Space Treaty (1967), by adding new tensions and sources of conflicts. A dilemma between the national security needs and the benefit of global cooperation never seems to end. Though, given the winds of war still blowing in our world, the current global paradigm calls for individual State’s voluntary dedication to the prevention of armed conflicts.

By and large, outer space is perceived as a field of adventure and unlimited possibilities; e.g., the mine of untouched natural resources and the next destination for civilization. And yet, it has also been serving as an excellent high ground from which to gain a military advantage since the inception of the Space Age, which may well generate some destructive outcomes contrary to such life-giving potentials publicly anticipated from 'space.' Thus, this presentation intends not only to discuss primarily how the US Space Program – as part of its national defense policy – is in conformity with an international effort to ‘harmoniously’ enhance global space security, but more importantly, to emphasize that now may be the time to reflect on the weight of our terrestrial decisions – government and industry alike – extending to the extraterrestrial forum. So, we may hopefully find a way to "bring space down to earth" truly for more sustainable human future, and ultimately, for the greater good of all people.

avatar for Julianne Oh

Julianne Oh

Doctoral Candidate, Royal Military College of Canada (RMC)
Julianne Oh is currently a doctoral candidate at the Royal Military College of Canada (War Studies Program). She is also an alumna of McGill University; i.e., in addition to her LL.M. (Master of Laws) received from its Institute of Air and Space Law, she completed, in 2016, the Integrated... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 1:25pm - 1:45pm EDT
Room AB Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1