Chaire de recherche du Canada en ÉPI

Université Laval

Space – Cyber Governance

Project description

Goal: with the aim of identifying principles for responsible space – cyber behavior that will represent 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

Time: TBD (February 2022)

Place: webinar

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

Time: May 25, 2022

Place: CIGI headquarters, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

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

Time: TBD (July 2022)

Place: Indiana University Washington D.C. Advancement Center