For immediate release: 14 June 2006

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today reacted with great concern over the statement by a senior US State Department official that the US has the right to develop weapons in space. Without naming any potential adversaries or threats, John Mohanco, the deputy director of the office of multilateral, nuclear and security affairs, told the United Nations Conference on Disarmament that the US continues to consider the role that space-related weapons may play in protecting their assets. The US and Britain are staunchly opposing the rest of the international community’s desire to engage in negotiations on space weapons at the UN Conference on Disarmament.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “We have seen how the US withdraws from Treaties when it feels it needs to, like it did with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. How can we be sure that they will stick with the Outer Space Treaty, especially as indications are that they are already working on destroying the spirit of the Treaty – to keep war out of the heavens?”

CND has serious concerns that the American pursuit of “full-spectrum dominance” of land, sea, air, and space, will lead to a dangerous and expensive arms race in space. In June 2005 the Russians declared that they would not be the first to put weapons in space. However, they warned that “if someone starts to place weapons in outer space we will have to react accordingly.” (1)

In October 2005 the US became the first nation ever to vote against a Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) resolution, and the Pentagon’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2007 includes nearly one billion dollars for dual-use space weapons programmes. (2)

Ms Hudson said, “It appears that the US is taking a similar stance on weapons in space as it is on the Iranian nuclear programme – that they can freely develop dangerous, deadly, and illegal weapons, but nobody else can.”


Notes to Editor:

1. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.