Comparing Space and Cyber Governance in U.S. Policy and Multilateral Initiatives

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A new report has been added to the SWF Resource Library that compares and contrasts recent space and cyber governance initiatives. The research was done by Ms. Erica Symonds, a graduate student at the University of Maryland College Park's School of Public Policy. SWF Director of Program Planning Dr. Brian Weeden served as an advisor for the research. 

Ms. Symond's research compiles a list of multilateral initiatives on space and cyber governance along with U.S. national policy and strategies that have been put in place over the last decade. Ms. Symonds develops two frameworks for comparing key characteristics of the initiatives in order to determine implications for future space and cyber governance efforts. She finds that existing governance efforts in the space and cyber domains are highly siloed, which may limit meaningful progress to reduce the chance of misunderstandings that could lead to conflict. Divisions among groups of states are also impeding progress at the UN. Cyber issues face challenges from opposing perspectives on how information in cyberspace and the internet should be governed, often split between Western and non-Western states. In space, this divide plays out as the United States tends to be at odds with Russia and China. The mixed success of space and cyber initiatives at the UN over the past decade raises questions about the effectiveness of consensus-based forums while regional organizations, multi-stakeholder forums, and domestic initiatives move forward. At the same time, the UN continues to play an important role by serving as a forum for states to negotiate and find areas of common ground when possible.


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Last updated on July 11, 2019