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Extra info for Building the architecture for sustainable space security: conference report 30-31 March 2006
However, there are two areas where internal bureaucracies in the United States could move toward positions that could be expanded into CBMs. The first is regarding the protection of commercial satellites. There is increasing recognition that private companies are not national entities and so discussions concerning the protection of commercial satellites would need to include actors from outside government. A level of transparency would be needed to have these discussions. The second area concerns space debris, a problem that possesses no national allegiance.
It is a ground-based laser system fuelled by a chemical reaction and is managed by the US Army. 6 million for the laser programme that includes MIRACL. 3 million for programmes related to high energy and directed energy. A space-based laser programme that was launched by the MDA seems to have disappeared from the 2007 budget request. Here too, technical difficulties are present. In the case of a ground-based laser, the beam has to be very powerful and focused to get through the atmosphere. If the laser system is airborne, the issue becomes the size and weight of the instruments.
It is important to remember the primary principles: the central issue is outer space security and how to establish it. Negotiating a treaty is a lengthy process-one the international community has yet to agree to. Interested actors now need to think about their goals and not become confined to the process. Some participants felt that a treaty might not be the best solution in any case. Often, people regard treaties as the optimum way to shape state behaviour, but the custom and practice that arises out of CBMs was proposed as another way.