Hypothesis: For space to remain a peaceful domain International treaties will need to address the governance of outer space in a manner that appeals to each nations respective commercial and security interests while ensuring that no nation (or group of allied nations) retains the exclusive policing authority.
Dependent Variable: (conflict): between competing nations and private industries to secure their interests in outer space (both security and economic)
Independent Variable: (causes and conditions): Different nations disagree upon long-standing historical ideological differences (both in government, conflict resolution, and commercial conduct). Nations at odds on land will no doubt be at odds in outer space. Furthermore, current international treaties remain open to interpretation (requiring self-imposed regulation) which becomes susceptible to the lens of varying cultural norms and perspectives.
Process: The studies analyze past and current international space treaties and initiatives. They use historical context to demonstrate how outdated space law insufficiently addresses modern threats. They offer different perspective on the best way to address the international use of space.
Criteria: Two main ideological perspective‘s exist in regards to outer space treaty. One perspective supports facilitating a peaceful environment based upon international agreements and the banning of weapons in space. The other perspective purports the value of defensive preparedness, deterrence, and preemptive strike abilities. Certain research finds that traditional measures such as reconstitution and defensive response prove insufficient to provide the necessary degree of security to the nation’s valuable space assets. Contrastingly the opposing ideology optimistically focuses its attention on the original Treaty on Principles Governing Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space Treaty of 1967. This treaty forbids countries from testing weapons of mass destruction in outer space, prevents any nation from claiming sovereignty to space, and promotes the idea that all resources in outer space belong to all mankind (Bauman 2016, 105). This viewpoint supports the idea that peace and international cooperation is essential to promoting human evolution in the domain of outer space. Some view outer space as an opportunity for mankind to learn to peacefully cohabit and cooperate with a shared mutual interest.
Gaps: While all existing research supports one of two main ideological view points on how the United States should conduct itself in the space domain, none use historical precedents of the United States conduct toward internationally disputed areas and national security or commerce to predict how the US will move forward in its policy toward outer space. Currently, studies do not explicitly support the hypothesis that the United States will move toward weaponization of outer space if it’s current space vulnerabilities continue to increase, thus exposing National security to greater threats.