SWF Publishes Summary of Space Crisis Dynamics and Uncertainty Tabletop Exercise

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

As more countries integrate space into their national military capabilities and rely on space-based information for national security, there is an increased chance that any interference with satellites could spark or escalate a crisis or conflict. At the same time, the growing reliance on space for national security capabilities creates incentives for attacks on space capabilities as part of a conflict on Earth. The situation is further complicated by (1) the increasing dependence on commercial and civil space systems supporting the global economy, and (2) the challenge of determining the exact cause of a satellite malfunction: whether it was due to a space weather event, impact by space debris, unintentional interference, or deliberate aggression.

To help assess these challenges, the Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) co-organized a tabletop exercise (TTX) on Space Crisis Dynamics and Uncertainty on November 9-10, 2016, in Washington, DC. The goal of the TTX was to raise awareness about the risks of escalation and crisis stability, and to identify gaps or shortcomings in existing national and international policies, strategies, communication channels, and political/legal mechanisms. The output of the TTX will be used to inform future work on developing new mechanisms to enhance space security and reduce the risk of a crisis involving space capabilities escalating to armed conflict.

 A total of 18 people played in the TTX, divided up among the four teams. The players were drawn from government, industry, and academia, and had backgrounds in national security space, space policy, civil space, and diplomacy. 

This summary report from the TTX includes all the instructions, background materials, and scenarios that were provided to the teams before and during the TTX. It also includes a summary of the moves made by the teams during each of the scenarios, and an overview of the main points and perspectives from the post-scenario group discussion. Individual files can be found on the event page.


View Publication
Last updated on February 7, 2017