RUMLAE Director Prof Dale Stephens and RUMLAE Management Board member Dr Stacey Henderson recently attended a week long editorial meeting in Yokohama, Japan (unfortunately Prof Melissa de Zwart, an editorial member of the Project was unable to attend). Representatives from the other leading Universities spearheading this project, namely Prof Jack Beard (University of Nebraska), Prof Hitoshi Nasu (University of Exeter) and Prof Rob McLaughlin (University of UNSW-Canberra) also attended the editorial meeting, along with Colonel Rob Holman and Mr Duncan Blake. The purpose of the meeting was to commence the ‘deep dive’ review of the large volume of Rules and Commentary that have been drafted for the Woomera Manual to date to ensure coherency and consistency. A hallmark of the methodology of the Manual has been the particular focus on State practice to inform the development of rules and commentary and the editorial team spent considerable time on this issue.
The Woomera Manual project has been in existence for almost two years and while there are still rules and commentary yet to be written, it is nonetheless starting to take final draft shape. Importantly, it deals with Military Space activities in the full spectrum of operations ranging from normal peacetime activity through the Use of Force spectrum and finally in the context of an armed conflict. The purpose of the Manual is to identify and articulate the law applicable across this full range of military activity. Thus, a key goal of the manual is to assist decision makers in acting with a level of confidence and transparency under the law applicable to military space activity so as to promote confidence in actions taken and to avoid miscalculation in such space operations.