7th session of the Deterrence and Arms Control Conversations with Alain De Neve


4 June 2024


12:30 - 14:00


Meeting room of the Egmont Institute

Type of Event

Working lunch

On invitation only


Egmont Institute

Alain De Neve, Researcher at the Centre for Security and Defence Studies at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence, will discuss the the militarization and weaponization of space.


The militarization and weaponization of space have become critical concerns in recent years, driven by both deliberate strategies and geopolitical inertia. Recent incidents, such as anti-satellite missile tests and the deployment of military satellites, underscore the increasing risks and tensions in space. These developments have significant implications for international law, particularly in the context of the Artemis Accords, which aim to promote peaceful and cooperative exploration of space. However, the Artemis Accords do not encompass all nations, addressing only the states that are party to them, thus excluding a significant portion of humanity from their benefits and obligations.


Negotiations within the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) have faced considerable challenges, highlighting the difficulties in reaching a global consensus on space governance. Additionally, recent concerns about a potential Russian program to develop space-based nuclear weapons have heightened fears of a return to nuclear threats in space, further complicating the security landscape.


The rise of new space powers such as China and India introduces additional dynamics and potential rivalries into the space domain. These nations have made significant strides in their space capabilities, contributing to a more competitive and crowded space environment. This intensifies the need for comprehensive international agreements that include all major space-faring nations.


Moreover, the privatization of the space sector, with actors like SpaceX disrupting the market, is transforming not only the commercial landscape but also the strategic and policy perspectives on space activities. The involvement of private companies in space exploration and satellite deployment raises questions about the regulation, liability, and the role of these entities in the broader context of space security and governance.


The principle of free access to space is under scrutiny as nations and private actors vie for strategic and commercial advantages in the final frontier. This evolving security environment necessitates a re-evaluation of space governance and the establishment of robust mechanisms to prevent conflict and ensure the sustainable use of space. The international community must navigate these complex issues to uphold the peaceful use of space for all humankind.


Participants are encouraged to actively engage in the conversation, which will take place under Chatham House Rule.


Register here by May 31.


(Photo credit: Felix Mittermaier, Pixabay)