Research Pages

Endorsements of a Code of Conduct

in Program

The long-term sustainability of
our space environment is at serious risk from space debris and irresponsible
actors. Ensuring the stability, safety, and security of our space systems is of
vital interest to the United States and the global community. These systems
allow the free flow of information across platforms that open up our global
markets, enhance weather forecasting and environmental monitoring, and enable
global navigation and transportation.

Unless the international
community addresses these challenges, the environment around our planet will
become increasingly hazardous to human spaceflight and satellite systems, which
would create damaging consequences for all of us.

In response to these challenges,
the United States has decided to join with the European Union and other nations
to develop an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. A Code
of Conduct will help maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, stability,
and security of space by establishing guidelines for the responsible use of

As we begin this work, the
United States has made clear to our partners that we will not enter into a code
of conduct that in any way constrains our national security-related activities
in space or our ability to protect the United States and our allies. We are,
however, committed to working together to reverse the troubling trends that are
damaging our space environment and to preserve the limitless benefits and
promise of space for future generations.


Secretary of State Hillary

Department of State Press Release



In May 2013, the EU and the Government
of Ukraine co-hosted in Kiev an Open-Ended Consultations on the draft Code of Conduct
which enabled an extensive exchange among participants. They put forward their
comments and suggestions regarding the draft Code. Following these
consultations the EU has presented a revised draft, which is proposed for
further discussion at the next round of Open-ended Consultations to take place
in November, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The EU calls on all interested States
to continue to engage on this process towards an International Code of Conduct
for Outer Space Activities.


Mr. Jacek Bylica

Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament
European External Action Service

UN General Assembly, October 7, 2013



The Group endorses efforts to pursue
political commitments, for example, in the form of unilateral declarations,
bilateral commitments or a multilateral code of conduct, to encourage
responsible actions in, and the peaceful use of, outer space. The Group
concludes that voluntary political measures can form the basis for consideration
of concepts and proposals for legally binding obligation.


Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and

Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space

UN General Assembly, July 29, 2013



I think the
first thing that I would really like to propose is that we would put in place a
process that will lead to a clear set of rules of the road.


Gen. Ronald Fogleman,
USAF (ret.),

Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Air
Force, May 13, 2010 » 



The safe and responsible use of
space and preservation of the space environment are important issues for all
nations, especially for space-faring nations. Encouraging responsible behavior
through establishment of international norms, such as the Space Debris
Mitigation Guidelines led by the United States and endorsed by the UN General
Assembly, may be an excellent model. If confirmed, I will work closely with
other Departments and Agencies to explore options to address generation of
space debris and to promote the development of international norms for safe and
responsible behavior in space.


Michael Nacht,

Statement to Senate Armed Services Committee, April
28, 2009

Nominee for Assistant Secretary Global Strategic
Affairs Department of Defense »



Whether we can succeed will
depend on actions we take here at home – restoring strong economic growth and
maintaining our scientific and technological edge and defending ourselves at
reasonable cost in dollars without violating our civil liberties. It will also
depend on our actions abroad, not only in how we deal with regions, regimes and
crises, but also in developing new multilateral systems, formal or informal,
for effective international cooperation in trade and finance, in neutralizing
extremist groups using terrorism, in controlling the proliferation of WMD,
developing codes of conduct for cyberspace and space, and in mitigating and
slowing global climate change.


Adm. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence

Annual Threat Assessment of the
Intelligence Community, February 12, 2009 » 



the significant potential for the development of space programs including
launches of space carrier Ukraine strictly adheres to relevant principles of
international law. In accordance with the Hague Code of Conduct against
Ballistic Missile Proliferation Ukraine provides transparency in its space
activity. In this regard, Ukraine welcomes joint initiatives of the Russian
Federation and China which presented a draft Treaty on the Prevention of the
Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer
Space Objects. We also support the efforts of the European Union aimed at
improving safety and transparency in the Outer Space by implementing draft Code
of Conduct on Outer Space Activity. Ukraine is convinced that these initiatives
will contribute to the concrete and substantive discussions on the issue of
strengthening security in outer space.


Mykola Maimeskul, Ambassador and

Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Office,

given at the International Organizations in Geneva at the Plenary Meeting of

 Conference on Disarmament, March 17, 2009 »



Russia and China, in particular,
are also concerned that US technological superiority could lead to it gaining
military advantage by developing space weapons. They have jointly proposed a
treaty to prevent the placement of weapons in space. But there is no international
consensus on the need for this, given that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty already
imposes constraints on the military uses of space. An alternative way forward
in the medium term may be an International Code of Conduct on Outer Space
Activities aimed at enhancing transparency and confidence-building measures.


United Kingdom, February 5, 2009

“Lifting the Nuclear Shadow:
Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons”

Policy Information Paper »



treaty that increases space security is a good idea but is likely to take a
long time to negotiate. There is a simpler and quicker way to go: a Code of
Conduct for responsible space-faring nations. One key element of that Code must
include a prohibition against harmful interference against satellites.


Senator Barack Obama

Response to Policy Questionnaire,
Council for a Livable World, 2008 » 



that the protective measures must be fully compliant with international
standards regarding peaceful uses of outer space and commonly agreed
transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs); asks EU Member States to
explore the possibility of developing legally or politically binding
“rules of the road” for space operators, together with a space
traffic management regime


European Parliament

Article 41, Resolution of 10
July 2008 on Space and Security »



think as a government, we should examine the potential utility of a code of
conduct or “rules of the road” for the space domain, thus providing a
common understanding of acceptable or unacceptable behavior within a medium
shared by all nations.


General Kevin P. Chilton, USAF
Statement to Senate Armed Services Committee »



arms control agreements alone cannot eliminate threats or reduce
miscalculations, international norms and rules of the road can play a positive
role. Like-minded nations can and should agree on principles for minimizing
debris in space, reducing potentially hazardous actions, increasing cooperation
and information sharing, and establishing accountability for disruptive or
hostile space actions. The United States should once again seize a leadership
role in shaping these norms, either by unilateral declaration and action or by
joint action with friends and allies.


Representative Jane Harman,
Space News, April 9, 2007 »



Italy recognized that some CD
members had other priorities, such as the prevention of an arms race in outer
space (PAROS). While waiting for more concrete projects on PAROS, Italy
supported the idea of discussing a code of conduct for outer space.

Statement of Italy to the Conference on Disarmament
March 13, 2007 »



Switzerland emphasized the utility
of confidence-building measures in space, including a code of conduct for space
activities and provisions to prevent space debris and noted that this will be
taken up during the 2007 UN General Assembly. It said a code of conduct could
include measures to regulate space traffic, and prevent or prohibit dangerous
actions or actions of those with questionable objectives.

Statement of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament
March 6, 2007 »



[The United States should] begin
an international dialogue on ‘Rules of the Road’ for space – Although there may
be disagreement as to the value of additional laws or space treaties, there
seems to be general acceptance that certain guidelines or norms developed by
consensus may play a useful role in ordering our activities in space. A good
example is the space debris guidelines developed by the Inter-Agency Space
Debris Coordinating Committee, an intergovernmental body created to exchange
information on space debris research and mitigation measures. The development
of other non-binding guidelines – such as protocols for informing other
operators when a spacecraft under your control could potentially cause damage
to other space objects – should be investigated.

David McGlade, CEO Intelsat

 Space News, February
19, 2007 »



confidence-building measures could among others be based on the principle of
non-interference with non-aggressive activities in space and drawing up a
“code of conduct” and “rules of behaviour” or “rules
of the road” in space. Elements drawn up might include the avoidance of
collision or interference; minimum distances between satellites places in the
same orbit. Avoiding collisions, avoidance of dangerous maneuvers and debris
mitigation could be among other issues, that warrant further evaluation and


European Union Statement to the
Conference on Disarmament

 Geneva, February 13, 2007 »



action poses a “major problem and something the world community needs to
address.” “We’re now stuck with hundreds of pieces of this Chinese
satellite for a hundred years, and it’s having an impact on the entire global
commons,” she said, noting that there needs to be “common norms and
acceptable rules of behavior in space.”


 Representative Ellen Tauscher, California
Washington Times, February 2, 2007 »



advocates building conditions in a range of areas which will inspire confidence
that all nations will have sustained access to space and to the benefits of its
peaceful use. We should consider establishing rules of the road that all can
understand and follow. Order and expectations of defined acceptable behaviour
are needed. In this vein, consideration should be given to an international
code of conduct which would help to guide space activities.


Statement of Canada to
the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

February, 2007 »



On the diplomatic front,
Washington should consider whether crafting codes of conduct for space might
lead to many of the benefits that advocates of a space arms control treaty wish
for, but without as many technical difficulties and risks.


 Aviation Week and Space
editorial, January 29, 2007


Better to try something more
modest [than a treaty]: a code of responsible conduct between existing space
powers that emerging ones could also sign up to. Such a code proposed by the
Washington-based Stimson Centre, a think-tank, working with a group of
non-government experts from China, Russia, Canada, France and Japan, would rule
out interfering with other nations’ space systems, including using lasers to
harm satellites (another trick several, including China, have practised), and
avoid activities that create long-lasting space debris. It would also provide
advance notice of space manoeuvres that might get in others’ way.


The Economist,
Leader, January 26, 2007 »



Now is a good time to lift the
fog that has muddled the space control issue. There needs to be a candid
discussion of all of the elements of space control and the options for
achieving them – including a code of conduct for spacefaring nations as
proposed by Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center. It was
encouraging in that regard that the Senate Armed Services Committee, in its
list of written questions submitted to defense secretary nominee Robert Gates
prior to his confirmation hearing, included one seeking his thoughts on such a


Space News editorial,
December 11, 2006 »



idea that deserves to be explored further is that of a Code of “Good
Conduct” or “Best Practice.” The Europeans must play their full
part in this deliberation. We must also be in a better position to take
advantage of the space technologies in order to reinforce security in
international relations.


French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy,
Toulouse, November 17, 2006 »



The better way to go would be to
act now to establish some rules of the road for space-faring nations. The Henry
L. Stimson Center has developed a model code of conduct for space that includes
no flight-testing or deployment of space weapons, minimizing space debris that
can destroy satellites and cooperating on space traffic management. The time to
act on these ideas is now, while the United States still maintains unparalleled
dominance in space.


William Hartung, World Policy
Institute, New York City, July 13, 2005 »



First, we – and by we, I mean
the space community at large – must agree to some rules of the road with regard
to operating in space. In our long range plan, we call this the “code of
conduct,” but either way, it means the same thing – we want to avoid the
Wild West, or gold rush mentality – we want to take that out of the equation.


General Richard B. Myers

Commander, US Space Command, April 7, 1999 »



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