UDC 355.019:341.229
Biblid: 0025-8555, 73(2021)
Vol. 73, No 3, pp. 433-454
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/MEDJP2103433S

Оriginal article
Received: 30 Jul 2021
Accepted: 19 Nov 2022

THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUTER SPACE INTO A WARFIGHTING DOMAIN IN THE 21ST CENTURY

STOJANOVIĆ Bogdan (Research Fellow at the Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade), bogdan.stojanovic@diplomacy.bg.ac.rs

The article deals with the process of the transformation of outer space into a warfighting domain in the 21st century. During the Cold War, outer space was a place of understanding and peaceful competition between superpowers. Militarization has existed since the beginning of the Space Age, excluding the weaponization of space until the beginning of the 21st century. The absence of an international regime to prevent the weaponization of space and technological advances opens up new opportunities for states in their quest to increase power. The theoretical paradigm is a realistic perspective of international institutions as a reflection of the most powerful state’s minimum consensus on a mechanism for reducing their costs. Successfully tested anti-satellite weapons open new questions about the defense of vulnerable space installations from enemy attacks. The authorʼs prognostic thesis refers to the new race in space weapons and the matter of time when lasers, plasma weapons, kinetic bombardment, and other types of space weapons will see the light of day. The strategic balance will remain untouched until the invention of a superior space weapon able to neutralize the existing offensive capacities of the states and erase the second strike capability appears. The author concludes that international institutions cannot limit the ambitions of states in conquering space because they do not want to give up that potential, but that a limited space war is unlikely.

Keywords: outer space, warfighting domain, militarization, weaponization, satellites, space weapons, strategic stability