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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: The Proliferation of Space Warfare Technology

Author: Matthew Hoey
December 11, 2008

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When information can be transferred across the globe so easily and instantaneously, one must ask if it's possible for a nation to dominate a given field of technology. And when NASA and U.S. government research laboratories continue to work together with emerging smaller space developers, universities, and researchers throughout the world, can one remain assured that sensitive technologies developed in the United States will remain here?

To answer these questions, we need to look at the impact of the delineation between academic versus military research within a global economy. Examples of the overlap of military and academic research easily can be observed in conferences and invited talks. But in the future, the lines that separate military and civilian technologies will become even more blurred as broad-based collaborations continue to develop multi-use systems with both peaceful commercial and destructive military applications. This would result in the further inability of the arms control community to classify and define space systems into their respective categories and thus, develop meaningful arms control treaties. Furthermore, as peaceful scientific applications progress in a global fashion, private space system developers have the benefits of accessing both domestic and foreign markets, undermining U.S. national space security plans and the pursuit of military space dominance.

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