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Université Laval

Space – Cyber Governance

Project description

Goal: with the aim of identifying the international law applicable to space-cyber warfare and principles principles for responsible space – cyber behavior that will representing a broad consensus, this project brings together a cohort of scholars, experts, and practitioners from around the world to discuss governance responses to the emerging nexus of space – cyber.

Background: Space-based infrastructure is a critical infrastructure for security and the economy – in fact to most aspects of modern lives – and is, therefore, a prime target. Only a handful of countries has the capabilities to physically destroy satellites – and be exposed as the perpetrators. A cyber-attack, on the other hand, has a low entry barrier in terms of required funds and technological and engineering capabilities. Moreover, the attacker can cover its tracks, leaving the attacked country perplexed. Cyber-attacks will therefore be the leading method of targeting space-based infrastructure by States as well as non-State actors, notably criminal organizations, and terrorist groups. Such attacks already occurred by States and even terrorist organizations. Indeed, a combined space-cyber warfare theatre has emerged to become the primary battlefield for global powers in the 21st century.

Whereas a space-cyber theater has already emerged, the governance responses are still separated. The UN works in two separate channels and there are the Tallinn Manual on the international law applicable to cyber warfare on the one hand and the MILAMOS and Woomera manuals on the international law applicable to space warfare on the other.

Indeed, current national policies and global governance are ill-equipped to address this new warfare domain. There is an urgent need to develop adequate national policies as well as a flexible, multilateral regime. 

Partners & sponsors: this project is a cooperation between the Laval University Graduate School of international Studies, CIGI, and the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University, Bloomington. Funding for this project is provided by Mitacs and CIGI.

PIs: The academic principal investigators are Eytan Tepper, Jean-Frédéric Morin, and Scott Shackelford.


Workshop 1: The Emerging Space - Cyber Warfare Theatre and the Need for Governance Responses

The recording of the workshop is available on YouTube here

Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 11:00 - 13:00  Eastern Time

Place/Mode:   Webinar (via Zoom) RSVP here to get the Zoom link

11:00 - 11:10   Opening remarks                                                               

11:10 - 11:55   Panel 1: The Emerging Space - Cyber theater

Moderator: Scott Shackelford

Panelists: Erin M. Miller (Executive Director, Space ISAC), BGen (Retd) Robert G. Mazzolin (Chief Technology Strategist, RHEA Group), Jana Robinson (Director, Prague Security Studies Institute), Richard A. VanderMeulen (Vice President of Space & Satellite Broadband, Viasat Inc.)

Description: The panelists will discuss the emerging space - cyber theater and its potential to become the primary battlefield for global powers in the 21st century, as well as the potential of space-cyber-attacks to become a leading asymmetric means of targeting space-based infrastructure by States, criminal organizations, and terrorist groups.

11:55 - 12:05   Introducing the Space - Cyber Governance project: Eytan Tepper                      

12:05 - 12:50   Panel 2: Integrated rules on responsible space – cyber behavior?

Moderator: Charles Stotler

Panelists: Elina Morozova (Executive Director, Intersputnik; St. Petersburg University), Guoyu Wang (Dean, Academy of Air, Space Policy, and Law, Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT)), Laetitia Zarkan (UNIDIR), Lt Col Brent Ziarnick (Associate Professor of Space Power, USAF Air Command and Staff College)

Description: The governance of the emerging space-cyber theater is split to two channels, one on space and one on cyber, including in the work of UN organs (CD, UNODA, GGEs) and manuals (Tallinn, MILAMOS, Woomera). The panelists will discuss the possibility and desirability of an integrated discussion and the identification of principles for responsible space – cyber behavior that build on the above but focus on the space – cyber domain.

Background materials: 

Tepper, E. “The First Space-Cyber War and the Need for New Regimes and Policies” (CIGI Policy Brief No. 173, May 16, 2022)

Workshop organizers: Eytan Tepper, Université Laval, Charles Stotler, University of Mississippi, Jean-Frédéric Morin, Université Laval & Scott Shackelford, Indiana University Bloomington

Workshop 2: Identifying Legal Sources and Common Norms for Responsible Space – Cyber Behavior

Time: TBC

Place: CIGI headquarters, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Workshop 3: Finalizing the Principles for Responsible Space – Cyber Behavior

Time: TBD

Place: Indiana University Washington D.C. Advancement Center