John Goehring argues the US regulatory environment for commercial space programs should promote industry growth, comply with international obligations, and preserve national security.
Goehring dubs these commercial space regulation efforts as the “rule of three.” After providing a brief background on existing regulatory regimes for commercial space operations, he describes the components of the rule of three and the sources of authority they are derived from. He then analyzes and applies the rule of three to two aspects of commercial space regulation: remote sensing, and radiofrequency collection.
Goehring observes that the regulatory regime for remote sensing satisfies and balances all three objectives appropriately whereas the radiofrequency collecting regime has gaps. He concludes that balance, dynamism, and embracing a holistic perspective are key toward striving for and attaining these three goals to ensure no regulatory gaps exist in the US commercial space industry.
As the race to space resurges, the United States’ great power competition with China has expanded to the space domain. Without a universally-observed rules regime governing space matters, the United States must be considerate in its engagement with China, acting with the future in mind to secure enduring advantages not only in space, but in all other competitive domains.
Through the “olive branch” and “fig leaf” approaches, Col. Matthew King analyzes the United States’ strategic options for cooperation and engagement with China on space matters, exploring the benefits and risks to the United States under each approach and outlining areas of mutual engagement in the space domain between the two countries.
King concludes that US leaders must gauge the threat posed by China in space, balanced against the advantages of cooperation, in order to formulate olive branch and fig leaf approaches that will promote US interests, mitigate Chinese gains, and secure systemic stability to cement sustained future US advantage.