Cyber War in Outer Space

by edwardmroche

The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has warned that Russia and China have been working hard at developing capabilities to shoot down U.S. satellites.  This purpose of building this capability is to has the capability to disable U.S. military communications.

In the United Nations Charter, signed on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, it always has been recognized that the cut off of communications is an important sanction that can be imposed against a nation states.  For example, Article 41 states:

“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”

China is developing so-called “Satellite Killers“.  In addition, there is a fear of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects from high-altitude nuclear bombs. EMP has the potential to wipe out large parts of the entire telecommunications and computing infrastructure of the United States.

All of these developments show that in the future, if there is war, then attacks against the cyber infrastructure will be as important as those against any other target.

It is difficult to see how these developments could be controlled with a cyber arms control treaty.