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Building Normentum – Norms of Behavior in Space

Paper by Robin Dickey via Aerospace Corporation; Published 20 July 2021

There appears to be a rising consensus among U.S. policymakers and space experts that norms of some kind are necessary to protect the safety, stability, security, and sustainability of the space domain. Past and present efforts to develop space norms provide crucial context for forward-looking strategy. Policymakers will need to combine an understanding of the existing space norms environment with a  new framework for analyzing critical decisions during the norm development journey. Only by navigating the diverse strengths, weaknesses, and tradeoffs that vary for any space norm can policymakers tailor strategies to achieve national policy goals. This paper proposes a framework for the development of international norms of behavior for space. The framework comprises four strategic decision points that will need to be considered for each norm effort, and the exploration of tradeoffs across each decision point shows that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to norm development, especially not for space activities.

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