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Dr. Jah Hosts the Fourth Episode of Moriba’s Vox Populi

Apr 26, 2021 |

In his fourth episode of his Vox Populi series with SpaceWatch.Global, Dr. Moriba Jah, Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin and Strauss Center lead of the Space Security and Safety program, hosted a panel of diverse experts to discuss various issues of space security. In his opening remarks, Dr. Jah said that he has noticed an upwards trend of escalatory language and behavior in the space security sector, including increased accusations of malicious intent, the proliferation of anti-satellite weapons, and more. He also noted that the presence of commercial actors in space means that these issues are no longer restricted to nation-states. Space security issues are also complicated by cultural differences among state actors. Dr. Jah argued that all people ultimately want peace, not conflict. He then broke down the three requisite components of a threat: opportunity, capability, and intent, noting that the presence of dual-use technologies in space means that opportunity and capability is almost always present. It is therefore intent which must be ascertained. Dr. Jah mentioned a piece of advice he relays to his students: “if you want to know something, you have to measure it.” Finding means of measuring intent, he argues, will be increasingly important. He then welcomed his guests to give their preliminary thoughts on space security issues. The guests highlighted the importance of gleaning lessons learned from other relevant policy sphere, like maritime law and air traffic control. They also discussed the importance of data sharing among spacefaring actors, and discussed means of enshrining this collaboration. Dr. Jah asked the guests to identify behaviors that speak to the intent piece of the threat equation. They also discussed the importance of trust building and confidence measures (TCBM’s) and the viability of traditional arms control mechanisms in the sphere of space security. Listen to the full conversation here.  

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