The International Space Security Working Group (SSWG) is a global meeting of experts and academics in the field of outer space. The aim of the event is to oversee the development of Space Security Index, a multi-stakeholder publication covering key developments in outer space over the past year. The Index is a joint research project of Project Ploughshares (Canada), George Washington University (US), the University of Adelaide (through RUMLAE) and the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University. The Adelaide Law School and RUMLAE are in their third year of supporting the project, which this year will track developments in 2017.
2018 marked the 15th iteration of the conference, which took place in Montreal, Canada and Mr Lukas Price represented the University of Adelaide and our researchers at this workshop. This year the work of RUMLAE researchers Lachie Blake, Clare Nolan, India Hopkins, Craig Martin and Frankie Murphy was showcased to the international panel. The research was supervised throughout the year by Professors Melissa de Zwart and Dale Stephens. The RUMLAE team covered areas including the budgets and priorities of civil space programs, tracking of global space utilities (such as GPS) and non-US military activities. Video presentations were given by each of the Adelaide researchers with an overview of their topic, followed by a discussion about the research.
The panel reviewed research from student teams around the world, the vast majority (with the exception of Adelaide) being postgraduate. The RUMLAE work presented was of a very high quality, and received very positive feedback when being discussed.
The SSWG produced significant discussion about the nature of outer space and the effects of increasing militarisation. The panel reviewed a large amount of research over the course of two days and laid the groundwork for the production of the Space Security Index 2018. The SSI will be published late 2018 and will be used as a foundational document covering outer space for a number of global organisations, including governments and the UN. It is hoped that the Index will serve to facilitate a dialogue about the changing nature of space and provide a resource for the creation of sustainable future space policies.
The contributions of RUMLAE and the Adelaide Law School are consistently well regarded. Mr Price observed that ‘RUMLAE provides an opportunity for students to participate in global projects such as the Space Index, and as such work on documents with influence far beyond Adelaide or even Australia’. The Space Security Index is just one of many opportunities available, but it serves to highlight some of the best aspects of RUMLAE’s work on wide reaching and influential projects.