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Press Conference: Deputy Assistant Secretary Frank A. Rose – U.S. National Space Policy 2010
July 13, 2010

Press Briefing


Frank A. Rose
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation


Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy
Permanent Representative of the United States
to the Conference on Disarmament

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Geneva, Switzerland

Photo Gallery

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROSE: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here in Geneva in this great building. I’m actually a big fan of Art Deco architecture, so this is a real treat for me to be here today.

As I just discussed during the CD Plenary, the new U.S. National Space Policy released about two weeks ago is President Obama’s statement of his administration’s highest priorities for space and reflects our principles and goals to be used in shaping the conduct of our space programs and activities. This new policy not only provides a foundation for going forward in our exploration and utilization of space, but also commits our government to lead the way in preserving the space for the benefit of all nations in future generations.

A key cornerstone of this new national space policy is enhanced international cooperation in collaboration in space today, as well as in the future.

In the coming months and weeks the United States plans to work with our allies, friends and partners around the world to implement the new policy. We will expand our work in the United Nations and other organizations to address the growing problem of orbital debris and to promote best practices and responsible behavior in space.

The United States will also pursue pragmatic transparency and confidence-building measures that will work to mitigate the risks of mishaps, misperceptions and miscalculations.

This policy also reestablishes the longstanding and bipartisan U.S. policy that we will consider, and I say that again, consider space-related arms control concepts and proposals that meet the rigorous criteria of equitability, effective verifiability and the enhancement of U.S. and allied national security interests.

We will also work to promote suitable commercial space regulations, international standards that promote fair market competition and the international use of U.S. capabilities such as launch vehicles, commercial remote sensing services, and civil services of the Global Positioning System.

Finally, we will pursue enhanced cooperative programs with other space-faring nations in space science, human and robotics space exploration, and in the use of earth observation satellites to support weather forecasting, environmental monitoring, and sustainable development worldwide.

The U.S. National Space Policy calls on all countries around the world to work together to adapt approaches for responsible activity in space in order to preserve this right for the benefit of future generations. An expanding number of nations and organizations are using space capabilities to create wealth and prosperity and monitor the earth’s environment and its natural resources, maintain peace and security, and explore the unknowns of the solar system and beyond.

The world’s growing dependence on information collected from and transmitted through outer space means that irresponsible acts can have damaging and potentially long-term consequences for all.

President Obama’s new National Space Policy renews America’s pledge of cooperation in the belief that with reinvigorated U.S. leadership and strengthened international collaboration all nations and people — space-faring and space-benefiting — will find their horizons broadened, their knowledge enhanced, and their lives greatly improved.

The United States looks forward to our future work with all responsible space actors to create a more secure, stable, and safe space environment for the benefit of all nations.

Thank you, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

QUESTION: Ambassador, good afternoon. Two questions, if I may.

The first regarding the Russian-Chinese proposal that was mentioned here at the Conference on Disarmament a few times. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was here last year and was pushing this plan. I was wondering if the U.S. has a more concrete response to that, rather than considering negotiating on certain issues.

Secondly, given the much touted U.S. concern over Iran, are there any space-related concerns regarding Iran?

ROSE: Thank you very much.

Let me say a few words on the PPWT Treaty. The U.S. position on the PPWT Treaty has not changed. We still see the document as a flawed document that is neither equitable nor effectively verifiable. That said, and let me be very clear, the United States is very interested in working with Russia, China and other space-faring nations to promote concrete transparency and confidence-building measures that will provide for stability in space.

Again, as I said in the plenary this morning, we have not seen a space arms control treaty to date that meets the criteria that I laid out. Again, equitability, effective verifiability. But again, let me be very clear on this, we are very interested in working with all space-faring nations on near term confidence-building measures to increase stability in space.

On Iran, as you well know, the United States has serious concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and the potential for Iran to use its space launch capability to develop a ballistic missile capability.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for coming to Geneva. Former President Mr. Bush made a National Space Policy in 2006, and President Obama made a new one in June this year. Please explain the difference between the old and the new policy, giving some more concrete examples.

ROSE: I think one of the big differences, and I’ll point you to the arms control language, is that prior to the 2006 policy, the U.S. policy on space arms control was that we would “consider space arms control proposals and concepts that were effective verifiable, equity, and in the interest of the United States and its friends and allies.” The 2006 policy basically stated that the United States would not sign up to any agreement that limited U.S. freedom of action. That’s a difference.

What we have done in the current policy is go back to the original policy, bipartisan policy — Reagan administration, Clinton administration, George Herbert Walker Bush administration — that we would consider arms control. Again, let me reemphasize that. The United States has not yet seen a space arms control proposal that meets that threshold, but we’re very interested in working with allies and friends and other partners on transparency and confidence-building measures.

But let me just say, there are other areas where this policy is a departure from the 2006 policy. Enhancing international cooperation is now a cornerstone of the U.S. policy. It was an important part, but this policy seeks to really enhance that.

Second, responsible action in space. If you look throughout the document, the changes in the space environment over the past four years requires the importance of ensuring that we have stablility — that stability is very, very, important.

The new document also calls for increased openness, transparency and confidence-building measures. That really wasn’t in the 2006 document.

So fundamentally, as I noted in my opening statement at the plenary this morning, a lot has changed over the past four years in this new policy, especially with the numbers of actors, both government and non-government operating in space, this new policy seeks to address that.

Additionally, with regards to Japan let me just say as we developed this policy we consulted with Japan and a number of other nations around the world, and they had inputs throughout the process. So we’re not just talking the talk when we talk about international cooperation. There was an interchange with Japan and, again, a number of other friends and allies in which they provided inputs, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and others.

Again, international kind of goes back to international cooperation. We weren’t really just talking about international cooperation, but international cooperation was kind of a key element from the beginning of the process.

QUESTION: Have you had any bilateral meetings here with either the Chinese or Pakistan delegations to assuage concerns on U.S. space policy and/or trying to move towards a consensus and break the deadlock on the fissile issue?

ROSE: I will address the space policy issue and I’ll defer to my colleague, Ambassador Kennedy, on the FMCT.

What I would say is that we have engaged both Russia and China on the new National Space Policy, and we continue to plan to engage Russia, China and others.

Again, our view is that there are a lot of common interests between the U.S., Russia, China and others, because it’s in everybody’s interest to have a stable space environment. It’s in everybody’s interest not to have a lot of space debris running into satellites.

Again, I come back to this. Transparency and confidence-building measures are a key element in the policy and we plan to engage, again, all international partners and promote safe and responsible action in space.

I’ll defer to Ambassador Kennedy if she wants to say anything about the FMCT.

AMBASSADOR KENNEDY: Let me just say that Frank Rose is the star of the show today. Given that this is a great opportunity and we’re very grateful for him to have come from Washington to Geneva, I’d like to keep the focus on space issues. I will say, of course, that Mr. Rose had a number of bilaterals, was able to take advantage of the Conference on Disarmament to again have contact with a huge number of countries. As Mr. Rose also mentioned, he engages in a number of bilateral space dialogues with many, many, of the space-faring countries.

With regard to FMCT, I would simply say that the U.S. has an ongoing dialogue with our friends in China and Pakistan about these issues as well as, of course, with the whole range of states that are active in the Conference on Disarmament.

Thank you.

QUESTION: I was wondering, sir, if you could elaborate a little bit why you think what’s on the table from the Russians and the Chinese is flawed and cannot be effectively verifiable. Since the days of President Reagan he said “trust but verify”, and for eight years we heard under Bush II that the FMCT was not verifiable. Then there was a U-turn.

So is the U.S. perception that what’s on the table is not technically verifiable? What is the problem?

ROSE: I would say ask the Russians and the Chinese. They’ve admitted that — We had actually, and I can provide you a copy of a document we provided back in August of 2008 listing all of the concerns we had with the PPWT. The Russians and Chinese admitted that there were some severe limitations on the PPWT.

What I will do, I’ve got a copy of this. I can give it to you. Additionally, the Russians and the Chinese have admitted that they have, it is, there are some serious flaws with the PPWT.

One of the key issues is that the PPWT does not ban KEA sat capabilities.

QUESTION: [What is that]?

ROSE: Basically land-based anti-satellite capabilities. It does not ban that, and that’s one of the flaws that we pointed out in this document. I will give you a copy. It’s a Conference on Disarmament document.

QUESTION: If I may have a follow-up, do you think in the absence of confidence-building measures in this domain, since there’s a difference, a strategic difference here, that there might be a proliferation of more countries having a land-based anti-satellite capability? Now it’s the U.S., Russia and the Chinese, but there are other countries testing this weapon system and will probably have that capability in the next three to five years.

ROSE: Let me just say a couple of things.

One, first of all the United States did an ASAT test back in 1985 and we’ve made a specific policy decision not to pursue that capability. One of the reasons we decided that is because it created debris. For example, in 1995, 1996 a piece of debris from our 1985 ASAT test came very close to the International Space Station. So we have made a policy decision that we do not want to go there.

The USA 193 situation where we engaged the defunct satellite, that was a one-time event. Let me be very clear, that the United States, its policy is not to develop anti-satellite capabilities.

As I talked about it, we do not believe anti-satellite capabilities are in anyone’s interest. They are debris-generating. And we, through our confidence-building and transparency measures that we’re moving forward with, that’s a key element in our engagement with allies.

We are concerned that other nations are looking at this capability, but again, we’ve made a national decision not to go there because it’s not in our interest and we don’t believe anti-satellite testing is in anybody’s interest in the world. Again, it comes back to that point. We need to maintain a sustainable space environment. Blowing up satellites is not consistent with that principle.

QUESTION: Can I just ask the Secretary to please expand a little bit on some of the bilaterals that you’ve held here? I’m not sure exactly when you arrived in Geneva, but with whom did you meet and what were the meetings about.

ROSE: I’ll just say we had a number of bilaterals with friends and allies and other partners around the world. Again, that’s going to be a key element as we implement the new U.S. National Space Policy, but we’ve been talking to everybody. Again, friends, allies, and other potential partners.

QUESTION: Could you say what some of the issues that you were discussing were, if you can’t say exactly who you were discussing them with?

ROSE: Primarily it is really explaining the U.S. National Space Policy and the international elements. I’m here on kind of a road show, because we think this is a real good news story. I’m kind of the evangelist out here, you know, in true American form, out here preaching the new American Space Policy. But I really do think this is a good news story. It really fundamentally goes to the President’s objective of increasing international cooperation.

QUESTION: Do you by any chance can give us a number maybe of a budget about — No? Okay. About how much funding the government is going to put into space policy development. Thank you.

ROSE: Let me just say this. With regards to the policy, the policy itself didn’t address budgetary numbers. That said, now that the President has released a space policy, the agencies and departments will use this document as they develop their fiscal year 2011 budget request. Again, specifically this policy doesn’t address the budgets, but it provides the strategic guidance on which the agencies and departments will develop their next year’s budget.

KENNEDY: When Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rose mentioned the flaws that we saw in the Russian-Chinese draft, I was going to say it is incorporated in CD-1847, so again, we can give you a copy of that document, but this should be on-line on the CD web site, so you can pull it up. It’s a detailed analysis of the problems that we saw at the time in that draft treaty and continue to see in the wake of this very exhaustive National Space Policy Review. Thank you.

ROSE: Just to follow on what the Ambassador said, the Russians and the Chinese have admitted the challenges with the PPWT proposal.

QUESTION: Going back to the budget, your proposal, your planned space policy, is that very heavy a civilian aspect, non-militarization of space, et cetera. Going back to the budgetary question, over the past 20 years the DoD space budget has been approximately double NASA’s space budget. Could we expect sort of a change in this ratio, or modification of this ratio? Thank you.

ROSE: I would say that’s to be determined. Obviously military space programs are expensive. I think it’s to be determined as we develop future budgets.

QUESTION: If I could come back to the non-weaponization of space. Any idea how many military satellites are out there compared to civilian? Both in intelligence gathering and in guidance of weapon systems that are land-based?

ROSE: I don’t have a good answer for you.

QUESTION: Are they in the thousands or in the hundreds?

ROSE: I’ll get back to you.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up question on my colleague’s question on Iran. Can you quantify or qualify in any way your concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and potential for use in space?

ROSE: I would just say, I’m not going to get into any depth on Iran today, but I would just say the United States continues to have concerns about Iran’s increasing range and sophistication of their ballistic missile program and the potential implications of a space-launched program to aid that ballistic-missile program.

QUESTION: The document you mentioned listing the flaws of the proposal, that’s two years old. Has there been any substantive come-back from them? Is there any substantive discussion on those flaws that in conjunction with this new document lead you to think that there will be any significant progress in the near term?

ROSE: As I mentioned very clearly in my plenary statement is that the United States has not seen any space arms control agreements that we have seen, currently tabled, that meets the criteria of equitability and effective verifiability. That said, let me be very clear. We are interested in working with Russia, China, and others on near term transparency and confidence-building measures that can support increased stability and transparency in space.

QUESTION: Do you see them as interested in working with you?

ROSE: I think so. I think time will tell. But we have had some very good interactions as we’ve outlined the new space policy, and we are hopeful.

Additionally, one of the things that we have started doing with Russia is we have re-initiated a Space Security Dialogue. So I will be actually going to Moscow next month to engage Russia on these issues. So again, we have — Additionally my boss, Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher, has an Arms Control and International Security Working Group with her counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov where we talk about these international security issues, missile defense, nuclear weapons, and space.

So again, we’re engaging that. We’ve begun a process with the Chinese. As you know, Secretary Clinton was in China several months ago and we have an ongoing —

So we are hopeful. Again, let me kind of reemphasize this. I don’t see any near-term progress on a space “arms control treaty”. But I think there is a lot of shared interest between the U.S., Russia, China and others on providing stability in the space environment, and there are a lot of near-term confidence-building measures that we hope to work with Russia and China on.

QUESTION: When did that dialogue, the space dialogue with the Russians restart?

ROSE: Hopefully we will be meeting soon, next month. Additionally we’ve had the Tauscher-Ryabkov channel that was established last fall as part of the U.S.-Russia bilateral presidential working group.

QUESTION: and it hasn’t been disturbed by the spy scandal?

ROSE: No. We’re still talking, and we look forward — It has been a really good dialogue. We don’t necessarily agree on everything, but we are talking and we’re having a very good exchange of views on the broad swath of strategic issues.

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