Delegate Name: Krishna Mano
United Nations Disarmament & International Security Committee
Militarization of Outer Space
City High Middle School
As our world continues to progress into the future, various nations have involved themselves in missions in outer space, motivated by both scientific and militaristic reasoning. While we still find ourselves at the basic surface level of understanding the regions beyond Earth, human activities in outer space are currently governed by international law. Some relevant documents include the Charter of the United Nations and, more importantly, Resolution 2222 (XXI) or the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST), which provides a broad framework on the commitments, responsibilities, and liabilities states are subject to when exploring outer space. However, despite the advancements this new domain has helped humanity make, with this progress comes the risk of military escalation occuring in the region. It is important to understand the major distinction between the militarization and weaponization of outer space. France, in the various treaties and guiding documents that we have written and signed (both in the United Nations and elsewhere), have accepted the general distinction that militarization includes militaristic, scientific, and diplomatic advancements made by a nation in space, while the weaponization of space refers to specific, intentional advancements in improving a nation’s military arsenal using space as a resource to further their development.
Over the years, France has taken many steps to support the militarization of outer space, primarily for deterrence and scientific purposes, while ensuring that the necessary guidelines are in place to balance out and prevent any miscalculations made by any country, regardless of whether it was intentional or not. We have also used our position of being a leading nation in our world, as a founding and key member of the European Union, Group of Seven, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the United Nations itself, we have been diligent and cautious with our decisions to set a good example for emerging space-exploring nations to emphasize the importance of safety and security in this new frontier. When European nations came together in 1998 with various other countries including the United States, Canada, Japan, and Russia, to come to a series of Intergovernmental Agreements about space activities after the establishment of the International Space Station, our government endorsed Article 2, which outlines the international rights and obligations that every nation has to be held accountable for their own actions in space, and Article 27, to create a system of adding amendments to the agreement, considering we were well aware of the advancements in military technology that were sure to come in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that we are opposed to space exploration. Empirically, we have supported and co-sponsored the 1967 Outer Space Treaty “for the benefit and in the interests of all countries” and “province of all mankind”. Even then, however, we emphasized the significance of safety in space exploration by ensuring that states are responsible for “national space activities”, “damage caused by their space objects”, and “avoid[ing] harmful contamination of space”.
When we are all divided by conflicts throughout the world, it is essential for us to not just acknowledge, but also take prompt action to secure the growing threats of weapons outside of our world. France strongly urges the committee to support allowing the fascinating world above us to be researched by both the government and private sectors with multilateral cooperation and transparency, but to also consider the risks that come with this free reign, ones that require safeguards and thorough amendment processes, similar to the ones France has endorsed in the past, and will continue to endorse in the future.