The Obama administration is reportedly ready to consider a new space weapons policy based on an international code of conduct.
As expected, not all in Washington agree with the revised approach, with some critics warning it could limit America’s strategic advantage in space.
The latest plan is apparently formulated around a draft code offered up by the European Union, which both the Pentagon and State Department had previously criticized as overly restrictive.
In the past, initiatives submitted by Russia and China at UN conferences on the subject were rejected by the Pentagon as little more than covert attempts to limit US space operations.
"The United States has decided to enter into formal consultations and negotiations with the European Union and other spacefaring nations to develop an International Code of Conduct," an administration official told the Washington Times.
"We believe the European Union’s draft Code of Conduct is a solid foundation for future negotiations on reaching a consensus international code."
Part of the concern about the EU draft code by the State Department is language that points to binding obligations in the draft code such as "shall" and "will." The State Departments feels the use of such terms in a supposedly non-binding document is not part of established practice.
Indeed, former UN ambassador John R. Bolton told the Times the initiative was simply "mindless."
"The last thing the United States needs is a space code of conduct. The ideology of arms control has already failed in the Russian ‘reset’ policy, and it is sure to fail here as well," he added.