NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI NEWPORT United States
There are various schools of thought regarding the use of outer space. On one end of the spectrum are those who believe space is an inevitable warfighting domain. On the other end are those who believe space should be treated as a sanctuary and should only be used for peaceful purposes. However, the dual-use nature of most space technology, whereby it can be used for both peaceful and military purposes, makes the latter viewpoint inherently untenable, especially since peaceful has been interpreted in multiple ways by different countries and venues. The U.S. has largely taken the position that space warfare is unavoidable and has, thus, championed the mantra of achieving U.S. space dominance in an effort to prevent potential adversaries from altering the balance of power in the world. U.S. space dominance rhetoric warrants a thoughtful ethics analysis since this approach could be a driving factor to a major conflict between the U.S., China, Russia, andor others that includes space and could render space unusable for future generations. This ethics analysis explores U.S. space dominance through the following traditional ethics perspectives utilitarian, rights, fairness, common good, and virtues. It also considers technology ethics, ethics as a function of time, and contractarianism. Finally, this analysis yields recommendations the U.S. can pursue to ensure it is not, through unintended consequences, creating rather than solving problems.